Thompson’s B&B and Ministry Retreat

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Dave and I have always had a heart for turning our home into a refuge for friends and a retreat for couples in ministry. When we lived in Southern California, we bought our cabin in the mountains for that very purpose, along with using it for my writing retreat. I did more writing there than entertaining when we lived in So Cal, even though we repeatedly invited couples and family to come visit. But now that we’ve moved away, when we go back to the cabin, we’re “booked” solid. Funny how that happens more now that we’re gone then when we lived there. We’re just glad the Lord has allowed us to keep that cabin and use it for His glory.

When we moved to Idaho, our home has a basement apartment perfect for guests. Many friends and family have accepted our open invitation to visit and let us pamper them with food, fun, field trips, and peaceful relaxation.

A special treat has been opening our home to fellow authors/ speakers I know through AWSA (Advanced Writers & Speakers Association), or through networking among those of us in the ministry of writing and speaking. Even though we might not know each other well, we know that what we have in common as Christian writers and speakers is enough for us to have a blessed time together.

The adventure for my hubby, Dave, is that he has never met any of the authors and their husbands who come to stay with us. But he knows it’s going to be a great time because we’re fellow Christians and that’s enough to build a friendship and relationship.

I was talking to a friend who is not a believer and explaining how we’ve never spent time with, or in some cases even met, some of the guests coming to our home. She said, “Well you share the same morals and values so you know they’re not going to do you any harm.” I thought to myself, she gets it. Even though she’s not a Christian herself, she understands the camaraderie Dave and I share with fellow Christians and what a testimony this is to her and others.

The First Time

The first time I introduced my husband to the experience of hospitality with people neither of us knew was when we took a trip to Montana. I knew author/speaker Tricia Goyer lived in Montana at the time. So I contacted her online and said we would be visiting her town and suggested we meet for coffee. When we got into town and I called her, she invited us to come to her home for dinner instead of coffee. As we walked up to her front door, Dave said, “You’ve met Tricia before, right?” Chuckling, I said, “No, we’ve never met!” My husband was shocked and replied, “This should be an interesting evening.”

We both had the best time and stayed until almost midnight. After that wonderful experience, he has never hesitated when I say, “Guess who’s coming to stay with us for a few days?”

Opening Our Home to Traveling Friends and Authors

Kathi and Al Macias

Two years ago, author and speaker Kathi Macias and her hubby Al were coming through Idaho, and I invited them to stay with us. I knew Kathi, and had met Al at an AWSA conference where we discovered that we all attended the same high school. I was in the class ahead of them. We had a wonderful time during their visit with us, and Al and Dave quickly became great friends. When we visit our So Cal cabin, which is near the Macias’s home, they come to visit, and Al and Dave have even spent a day on the golf course together.

Bill and Pam Farrel

This past week, Pam and Bill Farrel, who have love-wise marriage ministry together, were speaking in Montana, and I invited them to spend a few days with us in Idaho. You guessed it . . . Dave had never met either of them before, but by now, he already knew it would be a great time. And so it was. The Farrels were coming off a speaking weekend and going home to face a home remodel, and hopeful sale of their home. They were so ready for a break, and that’s what we hope they experienced while here. We enjoyed our first float down the river with them, a mountain walk, and hours on the deck with deep and meaningful conversation, laughs, fellowship, ministry discussions, and again, making new forever friends in Christ.

floatingPam's collage

Recently, a friend from our Couple’s Bible study said, “You really have a lot of company.” We had hosted California friends in December and January, and always savor our times when the grandkids are here for a visit. Dave and I have truly come to know the blessing of the Apostle Paul’s advice: Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. 1 Peter 4:9 NLT. We also have been the blessed recipients of cheerful hospitality from so many of our friends and family when we travel.

Dave and I offer our home and our hearts and invite friends, acquaintances, and fellow ministry workers for Christ to come and experience what we love about God’s beauty in our mountain paradise. Many have taken us up on that offer, and we pray that many more will enjoy what those who have visited call: “The Thompson’s 5 Star Bed and Breakfast.” But don’t worry; we’ll feed you three meals and snacks too!

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

If you received this blog by email, leave a comment here.

You can read more about how God helped me become more hospitable and balance my Martha with my Mary, in my Bible study Face-to-Face with Mary and Martha: Sisters in Christ.

MaryandMartha300dpi

Mamas Don’t Take Your Babies to Town

A River Runs Through Garden Valley, Idaho. Picture by Megan Griffith

A River Runs Through Garden Valley, Idaho. Picture by Megan Griffith

If you’ve been following my Monday Morning Blog, you know that I’ve had guest bloggers for the past few weeks while I was on the rode speaking in San Diego, CA and Billings, Montana. In both Southern California and Montana, we combined business with fun and visited with friends and family. I trust you enjoyed the different guest bloggers and the wide variety of topics discussed—all with the theme of mentoring from their experience and expertise.

It’s great to be home and hard at work on a new book, How Good is God? I Can’t Remember . . . Creating a Culture of Memories. If you have a story of forgetting God’s past goodness, and or ways that help you remember His goodness, please contact me for guidelines.

You might be wondering what all this has to do with the title of today’s blog . . . nothing! I just want to say “Hey” and let you know where I’ve been and what I’m up to. But now, let me share with you something that is burdening my heart and does relate to this blog title.

Election Day—The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

This past Tuesday was election day, and I know many of you rejoiced with me when you saw how the conservatives came out in force and let their voice and vote for change in our government be heard. I went to bed thanking God that so many of us took a stand to put into office those we hope will honor and abide by the conservative moral agenda.

That was the good. The bad happened in my own little rural community in our “red” state. For several months, a liberal force was stirring up interest in taking steps to change Idaho law to allow legal gaming, otherwise known as gambling, in rural *Boise County where we live. There was a question on our ballots last week asking if we were for or against this effort. Of the six cities in rural Boise County, five voted to pursue changing the law and our little town of Garden Valley was one of the five. Only 220 votes differed in the total county vote, but enough to give the commissioners incentive to move forward.

As Dave and I traveled through Montana, a state that God created with such beauty and majesty where Dave and I almost moved, we again were saddened at how such an amazing state allowed the marring of its gorgeous landscape by garish and grotesque casino signs and billboards. Returning home, we now discover that our quiet picturesque community with a river running through it might suffer the same ill fate. Here is a picture of our precious town and the surrounding area. What do you think that’s going to look like with a glaring casino sign? Ugly!

God's Beautiful Creation!

God’s Beautiful Creation!

Crouch FranciscoThe Center of Town in Garden Valley, ID is Crouch

Does this look like a good fit for our little town? Naught!

Does this look like a good fit for our little town? Naught!

But it’s not just the marring of God’s creation that’s heartbreaking; it’s the moral degradation that accompanies gambling. They don’t call Las Vegas “sin city” for nothing or coin the term “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” No, God sees all the drinking, smoking, loss of money, drugs, prostitution, vulgarity, and debauchery that takes place on the strip.

And here’s the saddest part—Satan loves to make sin look enticing, fun, and justifiable so why not make an area of sin—the Las Vegas strip—a “family fun place” where you can bring the kids. Who could find fault with water slides, carrousels, and play areas? Except their surrounded by smoke, excessive drinking, gambling and loss of money, corruption, and risqué shows. It’s like taking a family vacation in Sodom and Gomorrah and we know what God thought about that city.

Or try to justify that gambling and lotteries will bring in money for schools. Really? That’s how we want to fund our schools? There’s no right way to do the wrong thing! And believe me, the owners of these casinos make far more money than a school will ever see.

The Purpose of Gambling is to Make Losers

Don’t gamble on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, hocking your house against a lucky chance. The time will come when you have to pay up; you’ll be left with nothing but the shirt on your back.

Proverbs 22:26-27 The Message

So back to our little town. The whole purpose of gambling is for the casino to make money—and the gambler to lose. Those big casino owners and backers are not philanthropist wanting to help the community and economy. They are business people wanting to make their fortune off all those gamblers sitting in casinos with blank looks on their faces feeding the slot machines or throwing down chips that represent their family’s sustenance.

Drinking, drugs, robbery, and crime accompany gambling when people lose money, which they will, and get angry or depressed and take it out on those around them or become a danger on the road when they get in their cars drunk, mad, and desperate. The adrenalin that flows during games of chance, gambling, quickly leads to addiction. Our quiet little town has all the potential to be inundated with, as the newspaper put it—a degradation of moral character.

**The Christian Perspective

The Bible calls for Christians to be good stewards of the finances that God has given us. Funding casinos is not being good stewards or storing up treasures in heaven. I don’t think a Christian would want to be sitting at a blackjack, craps, or poker table or a slot machine when Jesus returns.

19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

22 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!

24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.Matthew 6:19-24 NLT

Some might say, “Oh we go to Vegas, but we never gamble.” Every dime spent there is funding all that happens there. “We must act all the time as if it were day. Keep away from wild parties and do not be drunk. Keep yourself free from sex sins and bad actions” (Romans 13:13 NLV).

Or “It’s just entertainment with discretionary funds.” How could it be entertaining to throw money away with nothing to show for it? I would advise Christians with that kind of discretionary “throw away money” to consider sponsoring a child through a Christian organization like World Vision or helping your church building fund or giving your pastor a bonus. Store up your treasures in heaven.

17 If a bird sees a trap being set,
it knows to stay away.
18 But these people set an ambush for themselves;
they are trying to get themselves killed.
19 Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money;
it robs them of life.Proverbs 1:17-19 (NLT)

Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine. Guide older men into lives of temperance, dignity, and wisdom, into healthy faith, love, and endurance. Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior. Also, guide the young men to live disciplined lives. (Titus 2:1-6, The Message)

Please pray for Garden Valley Idaho. There are still many more steps to change the laws of Idaho to legalize gambling in Boise County, and Garden Valley could opt out even if it passes. Pray that the 50 voters that exceeded the “nay” votes in Garden Valley open their eyes to the travesty this would be for our precious little town. Pray that some would come to know Jesus through the many discussions that will ensue. Pray for spiritual and physical protection for those of us who oppose legalized gambling in Boise County.

Pray for Las Vegas, the Christians who live there, and those who are ministering to the many lost souls on the strip.

Pray for those of us who live in Boise County and want to maintain the peaceful quality of life that drew us to this pristine paradise where we feel safe bringing our babies and grandbabies to town!

*Note: The city of Boise is in Ada County and is not in Boise County. Boise County is comprised of rural: Idaho City, Placerville, Garden Valley, Horseshoe Bend, Lowman, and Mores Creek.

**To read more on a Christan Perspective of gambling, here are two links or do a Google search:

http://www.gty.org/blog/B110522/is-gambling-ok-dont-bet-on-it
http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/position_papers/pp_downloads/pp_4186_gambling.pdf

Also consider that it was the Roman soldiers–Jesus’ killers–who gambled for his clothes, not His followers . . .

Here is a picture of my son in law and new baby Sienna. I’m still trying to get the family picture to download…sorry about that.
Next month my husband and I take off for an adventure to Montana and Idaho. If you know of fun places there to see and visit please let me know. We are looking at a possible retirement spot near water, mountains and a cabin setting. Any ideas?
I’m on a 2 book deadline so have to get back to writing. Hope you are having a great summer…mine has flown by.
Blessings, Janet
PS I will be speaking for LifeWay at Max Lucado’s church in San Antonio Aug 22-23. If you would like to come go to www.lifeway.com and go to women’s events and Fully Loaded. I’ll be teaching on Woman to Woman Mentoring and The Team That Jesus Built.

http://womantowomanmentoring.com/2008/08/here-is-picture-of-my-son-in-law-and/

Off to the Big Sky State

First let me say I am sorry that the picture of my new grandbaby did not go in the blog. But she is so cute. I’ll try again with this one.

I have been busy working on a 2 book deadline so have not posted since I returned from Idaho, but I wanted to ask for your help. My husband and I will be taking a 2 week vacation to Montana and Idaho with thoughts of maybe moving there some day. If any of you have any suggestions for what we should see and do or know of great places to live please leave a comment or email me.

I want a view–every writer needs that. Preferably of water and mountains and a cabin type setting. I don’t ask for much!

We just sent out our monthly newsletter and I would love to hear from you if you are enjoying it. We will not have one in Sept while on vacation. It’s been a busy summer for me. I will be in San Antonio next week speak for LifeWay at Max Lucado’s church. If you live in the area and would like to come go to http://www.lifeway.com/ women’s events, Fully Loaded is the name of the event. Hope to see some of you there….on the 21-22. I will be teaching Woman to Woman Mentoring and The Team That Jesus Built.

About His Work,

Janet