One Year & a Giveaway

Tomorrow marks the beginning of this journey I know as Evangitality.  I remember sitting on my deck on a beautiful summer day with laptop in hand and fingers typing away.  I had an idea of where I wanted to head, but I've made a point to try out new paths along the way.  My first post began with destroying the Supermom image, while others followed with recipes, meanderings, trials & joys and stories to share.

Life has been busy in our household these past couple weeks.  Our oldest daughter V has been going to various doctor appointments to figure out what is limiting her ability to blossom.  I not only want to share fun stories, yummy food and ways to extend hospitality, but take you with me on my life's journey.  And I hope that my story, my journey might shed light onto who I am, but more importantly, help you realize that whatever it is we build up as our idea of perfect is usually not the case.  I know when we share our story it redeems our past and gives hope for our future--it makes us human.

My little girl entered this world with different "things" that I always wondered if they were just me being paranoid mama or real "issues."  I wanted that first month of her life to hurry and finish itself out.  There are moms who have loved being a mom from the get go, but I wasn't one of them.  I loved my daughter dearly, but a lifetime of fear & anxiety shows its ugly head with greatness in postpartum.  Boy, did I feel it.  Nursing was difficult.  She wasn't gaining weight adequately from 2 months to 4 months to 6 months she gained about three pounds.  At the beginning, her inadequacies were absorbed by me--making me think it was a direct result of me as her mom.

Fast forward to late walking, little comments by the doctor, feelings of inadequacy, reading into someone's comments about her (or lack thereof) and at times comparing her to other kids wondering why she weren't more like so and so.  I would become defensive when acquaintances would heap praises on a friend's child while my little girl seemed to go left unnoticed.  But what was worse, I realized that I wasn't looking at her for who she was created to be.  I was looking at all the weaknesses; rather, than the strengths.

God has been working on my own insecurities and heart these past three and half years more than any other time in my life.  I have cried and asked forgiveness for not loving her like God does.  When I think about the true heart of hospitality (as I've said before), its loving the person unconditionally, because God created them in his perfect image.  My little girl, well, she's amazing.  My intuition of something not being quite right was right.  We've had her evaluated for speech therapy, physical therapy & to get orthotics.  The speech therapist said she was fine, just a little oral motor discrepancy.  The physical therapist said she needed some orthotics for her ankles to correct her posture & strengthen her ankles.  She also said she has low muscle tone & possibly a sensory processing disorder with hyposensitivity with proprioception.  What does all that mean?

It means I have a healthy girl, who has a little catching up to do with gross & fine motor.  She has to wear braces 8+ hours a day anywhere from 6 months to a year or longer.  That she needs daily exercises to strengthen her core & give input to her senses.  For me, there are days when I jump ahead and wonder if it will ever get better?  Will she wear braces for the rest of her life?  Will she be able to fit in with others, etc?  Yet, it's also like finding the missing pieces to a puzzle you've been trying to figure out for a couple years.  It brings hope & clarity.  With her oral motor, it's hard for her to do sucking & blowing, which helped me realize that as a baby she wasn't gaining in those months, because she couldn't suck adequately as a nursing baby.  When she was still having difficulty walking up & downstairs at three years of age, it made sense once we realized her weak ankles & low muscle tone in her core.

I've sat down to write a couple of times to put up a new post, but haven't had the energy to finish my thoughts.  Yesterday, I was listening to a story about a little girl, Naomi, who attended a camp for children who are neglected & abused.  She had gone from 2005-2009.  Her first year she didn't want to participate in any activity or with anyone.  She was broken and didn't know her full worth or capability.  The story ended with her in her final summer of camp seeing another little girl on the fringe.  Naomi went to her and said, "Would you like to play the game?"  The girl shook her head "no."  Naomi went on to say, "It's okay, you don't have to play.  I'll just sit here with you.  You know, I was just like you.  I didn't want to participate or talk with anyone either.  But, then I found out I was worth something and I'm here this summer to help you know that you're worth something too."

After V's second physical therapy appointment, I saw a new little girl.  She had a confidence & energy about her.  It was as if I saw for the first time my daughter blossom into who she truly was & has been designed to be.

We all have stories and the only way to give them life is by speaking them.  As I think about what this blog has become and what I want it to be,  I've realized a couple of things.  I don't really care about getting high  traffic.  I do love comments, because it gives me input and direction; plus, affirmation is a way to my heart.  I also want to invoke the heart of  genuine hospitality in others.

So, I want to celebrate a first year by doing a giveaway.  The thing about it is, if you want to enter, you need to share a story.  I'll be giving away a copy of one of my all time favorite cookbooks, The  Cake Bible by Rose Levy Bernabaum.  It's basically the go to book on baking & decorating all types of cakes.  She covers butter, genoise, sponge, & cheesecakes; as well as, ganache, buttercreams, homemade fondant, & fillings.  It's hands down a must for your baking library.

How to Win

Everyone has four chances to win.

1. Comment by sharing a story of how you've extended hospitality (evangitality) or someone has extended it to you.

2. Comment by answering the following: If you're an introvert, how is being hospitable difficult or easy?  If you're an extrovert, how is being hospitable difficult or easy?

3. Comment by referring someone to evangitality that you think would enjoy or benefit, then post their name here.

4. Comment by answering the following: What type of posts would you like me to explore in the realm of hospitality?  Other thoughts or comments.

This giveaway will end July 10 at 7:00pm Pacific Time.  Free Give Away is Closed.
Winner will be announced July 11th.