monthly inspiration from rachel ridler mum on a mission

July Inspiration

monthly inspiration from rachel ridler mum on a mission

It’s (almost!) the summer holidays!  So to start off this sunny and restful few weeks for you all (ahem, that may be a lie…..) here are some links and lovely things I have found this month:

Farewell Pudding Club

Two years ago I made a slightly crazy New Year’s Resolution.  Everyone else was resolving to run more, eat less and reform their habits.  I resolved to start a Pudding Club.  I guess you could call is resolving to invite more people into my home and enjoy more time with others, but I also just wanted an excuse to eat pudding!!
 
Over the last two years we have had some amazing evenings! And it has given me a chance to get to know my new neighbours, to see old friends and to make some new friends too. Best of all we have had some truly scrumptious puddings!  (Creme Brulee tops the charts, along with lemon meringue pie and ginger syprup pudding!).  But I have been feeling less passionately about it lately and have made the difficult decision to stop holding them for the foreseeable future. 
 
Why?  In the last few months I have seen pudding become more and more of a barrier to people in our society.  I have heard people say they can’t come because of a diet, or they have health concerns.  And I don’t want to put on something that is a barrier to connection or where people feel uneasy about coming.  I want people to feel welcome to come into our home and enjoy themselves whilst they are here.  So at the moment, that means re-thinking our hospitality plan and ideas to see where people would feel more at ease. What that will look like I don’t know, and there will still be pudding in my future I am sure!!  
 
Sorry to all those amazing people who have come along, and I hope you might enjoy whatever comes next (maybe cheese fondue nights or food roulette, who knows!)
 
 
At the same time, don’t be callous in your exercise of freedom, thoughtlessly stepping on the toes of those who aren’t as free as you are. I try my best to be considerate of everyone’s feelings in all these matters; I hope you will be, too.”  1 Corinthians 10:32-33 (The Message)

when trying to feed 5000 you need some good recipes!

It is well known that I have set myself a slightly insane life goal of feeding 5000 people in my home, and in order to do that I have developed some fail safe recipes that I know are tasty and easy to cook. This means that I can spend more time with the people who come into our home and less time worrying in the kitchen!

So today I wanted to share with you one of my favourites- chicken and leek pie. Lets face it, who doesn’t love a nice tasty pie, especially in this dismal weather. I have adapted this recipe over the last 7 years and it is one of the few that I keep making over and over again (it is just that tasty!).

Ingredients
  • Pack of chicken thighs, cooked and shredded or left over cooked chicken (ideal for using up leftover chicken after a Sunday roast!)
  • 25g butter
  • 6 rashers of bacon
  • 2 leeks sliced
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 425ml chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp crème fraiche
  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • Pack of ready made puff pastry
Method
  • Heat the butter and some oil in a pan and fry off the bacon until crisp. Add the leeks and cook for 2 minutes
  • Mix in the flour and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the chicken stock slowly.
  • Stir in the mustard and crème fraiche
  • Turn on the oven to fan 200°c or regular 220°c and put the shredded cooked chicken in a pie dish.
  • Put all the mixture into the pie dish, mix and cover with the pastry. Brush with egg and make a steam hole in the centre.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden. Serve with creamy mash and vex
 

You can easily make this up earlier in the day ready to chuck in the oven later in the day when your guests arrive.

This post was written to celebrate British leeks – for more great leek recipes do search for #lovemyleeks @BritishLeeks

 

Feeding 5000 – almost at 4%

Four per cent.  That sounds like nothing.  And as we near that figure for how many out of 5000 we have fed in our house, it sounds minuscule, it sounds small, it sounds insignificant.  But in fact it is almost 200 different people.  200 different lives, 200 different stories, 200 different beings all loved by God and hopefully shown that love through us. 



When the little boy came to Jesus with his five loaves and two fishes, Jesus didn’t say it was too small or insignificant.  He thanked God, blessed the food and passed it out.  Today I come to God with all those 200 people who have passed through our door over the past 6 1/2 years and thank him for every single one and ask him to bless them.  

You see at the heart of my family’s desire to feed 5000 people in our home over our lifetime was not the numbers really (sometimes you just have to pick a target out of thin air!!) but was the people that we would get to impact.  You see hospitality can be a very powerful thing.  It can be the door to new friendships, perhaps providing a way to start conversations when it is difficult in other places.  It can provide a breathing space for problems to be aired and discussed.  It can be an encouragement both physically and spiritually for those who are tired and weary.  It can be a great social time with many people!  It can be a source of comfort when times are difficult and a respite from the pain.  Let us not forget how important hospitality is in our everyday lives, by instead try to keep that invite into our homes at the tip of our tongue for everyone we meet.

I have this verse in my kitchen as a reminder to do that:

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it”. Hebrews 13:2

20 at a time

I often think about the challenge that I have set myself for my lifetime, that I discussed with and dreamt with God about.  To feed 5000 people in my home. From the outside it seems ludicrous, insane and unattainable.  But I know that I have a God of the impossible.  Who can move mountains!  To Him 5000 is only a handful, and he could gather them together in a few seconds if He wanted to.

So as I look at my current total of 165, I am not worried because at the moment  they might be coming in twos, threes and occasionally twenties (we hosted a fantastic pudding club this month!) but in the future God may bring people into our home in the hundreds! Or even thousands!!!  Perhaps our home will be extended to encompass the local park, or our church building.  The possibilities are endless.  And I like that.

To have a goal that is so much bigger than myself is quite humbling really.  I cannot do it on my own, so it is something I have to do hand in hand with God. We will travel this road together and see where it takes us. Do you have any goals that are bigger than yourself? 

BLOGIVERSARY! One year ago today….

So a year ago today, on the 1st February 2014, I posted my first item on “Rachel Ridler: Mum on a Mission”.  I have posted it again below for you all to reminisce and see if it is still any good!!  The past year has totally transformed my life and I have had the honour and privilege to share my thoughts, musings and inspiration with you all.  Sometimes it has been positive, sometimes it has been just trying to get through the trials of life and motherhood, sometimes it has been funny and sometimes it has been reflective.  I hope you have enjoyed travelling this last year with me, and I look forward to many more posts in the year ahead.

If you would like to join me in celebrating then make sure you enter my giveaway here.

Here is where it all began….


Feeding 5000 – A Modern Day Challenge

I am pretty sure that all of us will have read, or been taught about in Sunday School or church, Jesus’ famous miracle of feeding the 5000.  It will have astounded us all at some point in our lives, as we read the story of 5 loaves and 3 fishes being used to provide a filling meal for all those hungry people, with 12 baskets left over at the end.  But that is where the astonishment ends for most of us. At least it always has for me. Jesus did an amazing miracle and proved his power as the Son of God, but what is its significance to us today?  Most of us will never be in the same position as Jesus, where we have 5000 people hanging on our every word, and where there are no food shops nearby that they can get dinner from (let’s face it, we are never more than a 10 minute walk from a convenience store, Macdonald’s, supermarket or takeaway!).  


Well in 2013 I decided to write a list of my life goals.  Things that range from travel ideas, to personal goals, to spiritual ones too.  I was inspired by the book “The Circle Maker”, by Mark Batterson, which I had been reading during my baby’s nap times in a desperate bid to stay spiritually focussed when all I wanted to do every second of the day was sleep too!  I found it a fun and interesting exercise to try to identify what my core interests and beliefs were and what challenges and goals I would like to take on over my life time.  My husband and I have always wanted to be a beacon of hospitality, offering meals to as many as we can and letting people stay over for free when possible.  This lead to us pondering, what hospitality challenges can we set ourselves and what can our goal be for it over the hopefully many years we have together?

I started off the batting with saying we should feed 100 people (it sounded like quite a big number!), but after carefully sitting down and counting up those who have been to our home for a meal in the 5 years we had been married we found the total was already in the 70’s, so that would not be a big enough challenge!  500 would be an easily achievable target given how well we had already done, so after much discussion I had a brainwave – if Jesus can feed 5000 people in ONE DAY, why can’t I feed 5000 over my lifetime?

I have not sat down to figure out the logistics of this, neither do I care really (I am sure that the statisticians amongst us would tell me how many people a week I need to invite over the average life expectancy).  I trust that God will help me to invite the right people into my home at the right time so that I can reach this goal.  And I hope that along the way I can provide food for such a tapestry of people that it is more rewarding for me than for them.  I am hoping to invite friends, family and colleagues as well as strangers, neighbours and acquaintances.  I hope that I really will be able to feed those who are hungry, as well as those who are spiritually hungry, and that both appetites can be filled in our home.  


I see this not only as an act of hospitality towards others, but as an act of evangelism and discipleship.  I would like for our home to reflect our passionate relationship with our loving Father (in decor and atmosphere), and that those who don’t know him would be overwhelmed by the love and warmth inside our four walls, and that those who do know him would be compelled to know him more.  So I guess my challenge to you is this: Could you feed 5000? Are you setting goals for your life that a far too small?  God loves big challenges and people who trust in him to reach these, so why not set yourself a goal that is far beyond your own reach.  That way you and God can journey on through life to reach the goal together. 

The proof is in the pudding

Last January, as the clock rolled over to the New Year (actually I think it was in the morning as I slept through midnight and all the hype!) I considered what my resolutions for the year to come would be.  Did I want to lose weight and get fit? No – my crazy child with boundless energy and lack of a car was doing that for me.  Did I want to stop eating chocolate?  No – God blessed the world with chocolate so why should I say that it is bad?!

After going through an extensive list in my mind of things to give up or commit to doing I came to a decision. This year I was going to set up a Pudding Club.  Now I know what you are thinking!  This is the complete opposite to most people’s New Years Resolutions which are all about denying yourself and becoming a better person, but actually it fits in quite nicely with my desire to feed people in my home.  And you know what – who doesn’t love pudding!!!!

So in January I hosted my first ever Pudding Club, attended by 5 people.  And every other month this year I have set up and hosted a Pudding Club.  I knew it would be slow to start off with and I was just hoping and praying that it would pick up, that word would get out and that it would become a great evening of friends chatting and eating pudding, and a chance to make new friends too!  And I am pleased to say that September’s Pudding Club was the best ever!

September saw the arrival of 15 Pudding Clubbers, all with assorted tasty treats, and everyone left feeling full and having had a great time.  It was amazing to see friends from church chatting freely to friends from my volunteering work, and even people I didn’t know were brought along.  I felt like jumping up and down for joy, as this was the kind of evening I had dreamed about back in January when I first set it up.  

Looking back now, I know some people thought it was a weird thing to want to do, not very healthy and perhaps just another date to add to the diary.  But actually, pudding is a great thing to bond over (and once every other month can be a “treat” I’m sure!) and that was more my vision for it than just the pudding alone.  Yes pudding is amazing, but developing relationships and growing new ones is even more amazing.  

Sometimes we need an excuse, a reason to get together and something to invite people along to.  So this is what Pudding Club is to me – a really easy excuse to get people into my house and get to know them.  So if you have never been along to one of my Pudding Clubs then I urge you to come to the next one – Sunday 30th November at 8pm.  You could even invite someone else.  However, all Pudding Clubbers MUST obey the following two rules:

1. everyone must bring a pudding
2. everyone must eat pudding

(here is a picture of a pudding to make you want to come…..)

 

Family is a funny thing….

It has been our joy and pleasure to play host this last week to the family of our lodger.  For three nights in a row we were able to provide them with food and company, and they have indeed been added to the list of 5000 who have eaten under our roof (the total is now 130 for anyone interested!).  

It got me thinking about the strange and funny organism that family is!  We all have family and, whether we get on all the time or not, we love them.  Families are quirky, they are fun, they are supportive, they are sometimes annoying and they are yours.  But do we always have the same love and devotion towards our church family?

Paul often refers to his fellow christians as “dear brothers and sisters” (see 1 Cor 1:10, Romans 1:13, Romans 12:1, 2 Cor 13:11 for examples) and I don’t think he makes that comment lightly.  Jesus also makes the comment that his disciples and followers are his mother, brother and sister in Matthew 12:48-50 (notice it is not that they are “like” a mother, brother or sister but that they “are” those things).  So we are meant to treat our church family as exactly that – family!

How do we do that I hear you ask?  Am I not already doing that I also hear?  Well lets take a look:

  • families live under the same roof, and that is quite often what marks people out as a family.  So don’t give up meeting together with your church family – make sure you prioritise sunday meetings and your mid-week small groups.  You can’t develop family type relationships with people if you don’t spend time together!
  • families have fun together.  You spend most of your leisure time with your family and despite the arguments, most of the time you have fun!  So try doing some fun things with your church family and drawing in those who are on the edges or who you struggle to get one with as you may find they are totally different people when you are all having fun.
  • families have common ground and interests.  We all have our areas of expertise, but most families have some interests that they share.  With my husband and his family it is sport (in particular cricket) that brings them together.  So why not see if who shares the same interests as you in your church and then build that into your relationships – if you like musicals then find others who do and go together (there are many more examples!).
  • families keep each other going.  When you are a family, quite often you can walk through the door and sense the mood and what is going on.  And you adjust accordingly.  Families look after one another and look out for one another (I am sure many of you have older brothers who have kept a beady eye on your boyfriends over the years….) so we should be the same with our church family.  Nothing brings people closer together than going through the bad times with each other – people see loyalty and love when you stand with them through those, and even the most annoying people sometimes just need some help through something to make them into the amazing friends they will be in the future.
  • families annoy each other and come back the next day for more! You can’t really run away from your biological family no matter how much they annoy you (obviously there are exceptions to this – but I will save that for another time…).  Most of the time its just petty things anyway or we don’t realise that we have done it, so lets treat our church family the same and bear with one another in love.  Accept that we are all imperfect and that there are going to be times we don’t get along, but choose to let go of it when it does happen so we can all be back the next day for more!
  • you can’t choose them.  Just as you can’t choose who your mum, dad, brother and sister are, it’s not up to you to decide who God should or shouldn’t bring into his family.  So get to know all your church family, not just the people you like or have a particular connection to.  God called us to love, and if we love our church family as much as we love our own families then we can’t fail to become closer, stronger and more effective.


Praying that we can all get to know our quirky, annoying, amazing church families even better!

Feeding the 5000 – a brief update

My first ever blog post was about our family’s challenge to feed 5000 people in our home over our lifetime.  Now I am over 20 blog posts in and thought it would be nice to update everyone on how we are doing with the challenge!!

My husband would say we are 2.5% of the way to 5000 (that means we are up to 125 people…) which sounds low, but really when we have only been at this for a little while it isn’t that bad. Quality not quantity I would say (if it wasn’t a number based challenge!).  I recently reflected on this on facebook by asking those who had been over to ours to post their memories of their time here and the feedback was amazing…..

I was reminded of the fun of BBQ’s in the rain, some delicious food – sponge pudding, lasagna, homemade pie and toad in the hole – and the cementing of some great friendships.  It even sparked some more invitations and the realisation that the world is smaller than we think.

So I want to say a big big thank you to everyone who has been part of the first 125 on our list of 5000 for making it such a great experience so far.  I know I have a lifetime to achieve this and I will keep plodding on and hopefully some day I can post about reaching this amazing target.  I also want to say a big shout out to anyone who lives near us (or would make the trip to see us!) who would like to come round and be blessed with food and friendship – do let me know as I am not always the most outgoing of people when it comes to invites.  It would be amazing to reach 200 by the end of 2014 so I need another 75 people to come through our doors!


feeding the 5000

Feeding the 5000 – a modern day challenge

feeding the 5000

I am pretty sure that all of us will have read or heard Jesus’ famous miracle of feeding the 5000.  It will have astounded us all at some point in our lives. We read the story of 5 loaves and 3 fishes being used to provide a filling meal for all those hungry people, with 12 baskets left over at the end.  But that is where the astonishment ends for most of us. At least it always has for me. Jesus did an amazing miracle and proved his power as the Son of God, but what is its significance to us today?  

Most of us will never be in the same position as Jesus, where we have 5000 people hanging on our every word, and where there are no food shops nearby that they can get dinner from (let’s face it, we are never more than a 10 minute walk from a convenience store, Macdonald’s, supermarket or takeaway!).  


Taking on the challenge

Well in 2013 I decided to write a list of my life goals.  Things that range from travel ideas, to personal goals, to spiritual ones too.  I was inspired by the book “The Circle Maker”, by Mark Batterson, which I had been reading during my baby’s nap times in a desperate bid to stay spiritually focussed when all I wanted to do every second of the day was sleep too!  I found it a fun and interesting exercise to try to identify what my core interests and beliefs were and what challenges and goals I would like to take on over my life time.  

My husband and I have always wanted to be a beacon of hospitality, offering meals to as many as we can and letting people stay over for free when possible.  This lead to us pondering, what hospitality challenges can we set ourselves and what can our goal be for it over the hopefully many years we have together?

 

WhY Choose 5000?


I started off the batting with saying we should feed 100 people (it sounded like quite a big number!), but after carefully sitting down and counting up those who have been to our home for a meal in the 5 years we had been married we found the total was already in the 70’s, so that would not be a big enough challenge!  500 would be an easily achievable target given how well we had already done, so after much discussion I had a brainwave – if Jesus can feed 5000 people in ONE DAY, why can’t I feed 5000 over my lifetime?

 

Logistics – does it matter?

I have not sat down to figure out the logistics of this, neither do I care really (I am sure that the statisticians amongst us would tell me how many people a week I need to invite over the average life expectancy).  I trust that God will help me to invite the right people into my home at the right time so that I can reach this goal.  And I hope that along the way I can provide food for such a tapestry of people that it is more rewarding for me than for them.  I am hoping to invite friends, family and colleagues as well as strangers, neighbours and acquaintances.  I hope that I really will be able to feed those who are hungry, as well as those who are spiritually hungry, and that both appetites can be filled in our home.  

I see this not only as an act of hospitality towards others, but as an act of evangelism and discipleship.  I would like for our home to reflect our passionate relationship with our loving Father (in decor and atmosphere), and that those who don’t know him would be overwhelmed by the love and warmth inside our four walls, and that those who do know him would be compelled to know him more.  

 

A Challenge to you….

So I guess my challenge to you is this: Could you feed 5000? Are you setting goals for your life that a far too small?  God loves big challenges and people who trust in him to reach these.  So why not set yourself a goal that is far beyond your own reach.  That way you and God can journey on through life to reach the goal together.