Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Fireside Lessons

Thank you Mary Southerland for today’s message:

I have learned many lessons from my husband about how to do ministry. Dan is a people person and views strangers as friends he simply hasn’t met yet. But his heart beats for the lost man who seems to be running from God with every ounce of energy he has. Dan’s passion gave birth to the Fireside Ministry.

Every Sunday night men from all walks of life gather in our driveway around a fire pit to share what God is doing in their lives as well as the struggles they are experiencing. They ask for help. They pray for each other. Fireside time is a holy time where God shows up and works in amazing ways.

One Sunday night I slipped into the garage to grab something out of the refrigerator we keep there. When I heard Dan talking about the spaces we have to create in our lives, I stopped and listened.

For months, I had been brutally examining my life. I was very busy doing good things, but were those things ordained by God or tasks simply assigned by my own need to be seen and heard? I was tired and discouraged – ready to give up.

I sat down on the garage steps and listened as a master teacher laid out a life-changing truth for me.

Dan said, “I give Scott a hard time about his fire-building technique. But there is a truth here for all of us about the spaces we need to have in our lives. Scott cannot stand to see space in a fire. The minute one of the logs burns through, Scott jumps up and replaces it with two logs … and the fire always struggles to keep burning. Here’s why. A fire has to have space to burn its brightest. There has to be room for air to get through and fan the flames. If there are no spaces, the fire will soon die out because it can’t breathe.”

“Mary, you need space in your life … for Me,” the Father whispered to my heart.

I immediately knew what I had to do. I had to lay down every commitment, every ministry, and every log in my life at the feet of Jesus. I was smothering the power of God because there were too many logs on my fire and no space for Him to fan the flames of His plans for me.

I’ve repeatedly tried to defy my God-given need for rest, thinking that I’m somehow above both the occurrence and consequences of exhaustion. Some urgent task will always call my name, as will that person whose life will absolutely disintegrate before my eyes if I don’t do something right now. My ego loves those deadly toxic strokes that are from the pit and smell like smoke.

Stress shouts, “Get busy! There is so much to do!” Stress applauds and dances with delight as I keep on “doing” instead of “being.”

Life is so daily and often filled with uncertainty, a reality that can make me very nervous. I want to know what the plan is and how that plan is going to be implemented. Details! I need details! Instead, God calls me to rest.

I don’t want to rest.

When I rest, I feel guilty. I have places to go, people to see, and important things to do. I hear the quiet whisper of the One who knows me best and loves me most, “Mary, it is time to rest.”

In Psalm 23:2 the psalmist writes, “He lets me rest.” Don’t let that gentle statement fool you. The Revised Standard Version of the Bible says it this way, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” I can personally testify to the fact that the word “makes” holds a world of possibilities in the hands of our creative God.

Throughout the years God has gently grabbed my attention with an illness that drove me to bed or a crisis that drove me to my knees. He is a persistent loving Father and well aware of just how much rest we need and when we need it.

We will rest – one way or another. The logs will come off and space will be created for our good and His glory. God’s love will see to it.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!


Unclutter Your Life

Let’s Get Ready to Grill

maxresdefaultThe weather is finally starting to feel like spring and the rain may stop soon….so thoughts turn to grilling.  I LOVE to grill and miss it now that we are in the condo.  I can’t wait to be some place where I can have my grill set-up on our porch.


So be sure to put your grill on the to-do list to keep your family safe this summer.


1. Make sure your BBQ is on a flat surface, away from sheds, trees or shrubs.  Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors. Keep them away from the house, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Don’t use them in garages.  Keep children, and pets away.  Don’t leave it unattended. Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby just in case of an emergency. Ensure your barbecue is cool before you try to move it.


2. Clean your BBQ grill each time you use it.  Deep clean it every three months. Check your BBQ’s cleaning instructions before you start using a scouring pad, to ensure that the cleaning equipment you use won’t damage your grill or invalidate your warranty.


3. A basic BBQ cleaning kit should include: Rubber gloves – to protect your hands. Brush with stainless-steel bristles – to remove baked-on food and carbonized grease. Lint-free cloth to clean, dry and buff surfaces. Warm soapy water and a non-abrasive sponge pad – to remove stains. Mild glass cleaner – to clean painted surfaces Stainless-steel cleaner – to clean polished metal surfaces


4. Bake off grease deposits. You can do this by leaving your BBQ with the heat and lid on for 15 minutes to bake grease and food deposits into a blackened layer. It is easier to remove than liquid grease.  When the BBQ has cooled down, remove the coals and ash from a charcoal grill or disconnect the gas bottle from a gas grill to start cleaning.

5. Clean your barbecue including the lid and racks using a stainless-steel grill brush.  Wash the racks and the lid with warm soapy water and a non-scratch sponge pad. Clean stains from painted lids with warm soapy water and polish up with a mild glass cleaner and lint-free cloth. Use a mild stainless-steel cleaner on the metal parts of the lid or metal shelves.   Clean the cavity of your BBQ, removing big deposits of food particles or grease and then washing the inside with warm, soapy water and a sponge. Rinse and dry with a lint-free cloth.

Always remember that charcoal grills and campfires remain hot even after the fire has been put out.

Teach children how to stop, drop and roll if an article of clothing ever catches fire. Young children can learn best if you practice the steps with them, rather than just talking about them.


What is YOUR favorite thing to grill???  Share it with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!