Fix the front door.

front doorHappy New Year! I absolutely adore new beginnings! My husband knows I get giddy when the first day of any month lands on a Monday. I have forever been a planner, a list maker and a goal setter. Yes, this is my favorite day of the year. Steve and I stayed up waaaaay too late last night ushering in 2014, but I was still up early cranking out some yoga and organizing my kitchen for the week. (In my head I was of course organizing it for the entire year, but let’s be honest here…)

As excited as I get about the arrival of the new year, I am not much of a “resolution” girl. I do enjoy spending some time reflecting on the past year…and oh what a year it was! In fact, this year has changed me more than probably any other. Of course I want to better myself. I want to be skinnier, drink less caffeine, read more with my kids, pay less attention to my stupid smart phone, become more involved at church….I could go on and on and on….but I won’t.  I’m not going to spend time making a list I can’t keep. I have only one resolution this year. I’m going to fix the front door.

Originally, I heard this phrase as it applies to the church. A young pastor was speaking about how to change peoples’ hearts…you must first prepare your own heart, cast a vision….and fix the front door. He was encouraging the church to “extend a welcome mat” that brings people to our door, and then love them regardless of their age, social class, beliefs or past. I believe that is the most important job God has given us. Love people. All of them. Regardless.

In the days following, the phrase “fix the front door” stuck with me. I was left thinking not about how it applies to the church, but how it applies to me. Actions speak so much louder than words. Common phrases of mine like “I’ll pray for you,” “we should get together sometime,” and “let me know if you need anything” are useless if they are not followed by actions like actually praying with someone, extending an invitation or taking a meal to a family in need. I need to fix the front door, open it wide, and let people inside.

I started last month by literally “fixing my front door.” I bought a gorgeous shade of teal paint, and gave it a fresh coat. For the holidays, it’s even adorned with a glittery wreath. Step one – a tangible reminder of my personal mission. Enough worrying about the piles of laundry you might see on my couch. I’m letting that go. If you knock on my (now trendy and stylish) front door, I’ll ask you to come in for a visit. If the boys want to have a friend over, I will make a better effort to make it happen. If a student needs to talk, I’ll eliminate distractions and give them my full attention.

This year I hope to slow down and be more intentional in my relationships with family, friends, co-workers and students. In 2013 I was surrounded by a different kind of love than I had ever experienced before. Meals in our fridge, bills paid, personal visits and phone calls, donated work time off from coworkers, child care at a moment’s notice, prayer circles that extended for miles…actions. So many people opened their doors and sacrificed some of their own time and resources for us. I look forward to finding ways to return the favor.

Wishing a very Happy New Year to each of you from the Cook family! We are excited to see what 2014 has in store for all of us!photo


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