Tea Time: You Get Out What You Put In

I’d like to start by mentioning that after several experiences of putting together events in which I put my heart and soul into, I have become something of an event planning ninja. A novice ninja, perhaps, but a ninja nonetheless.

I heard a story about the concept of what you put in you get out in church this weekend, and it reminded me of the Thanksgiving we had last week.

I spent months planning Thanksgiving. Months.

It was that important to me.

I will give you the cliff notes version of my Thanksgiving: 3-D pumpkin pie invitations in the mail, 25 place settings of real china, homemade everything (the most important part to me), a B O M B turkey, photo booth with props, and leftover bags including homemade cranberry jelly and take home “thankfulness” activities.

I had a BINDER. 3 rings that held the master timeline, the 18 recipes that made up our menu, shopping lists, and to do lists that would make this event be what I envisioned.

I wanted it to be more than just eating- it had become something of a drag for our family, and I wanted to make it special- something to remember.

I wanted it. And so I prepared.

It was work. I really realized that on Thursday morning around 3 am when I finally finished all that prep I had started at 10am the morning before, so that on the day of I could seamlessly swap things in and out of the oven, without missing any family time.

I put my heart and soul into that, and all the other events I’ve ever done that were important to me.

But my pastor shared this concept with us on Sunday in a sports metaphor (of which I only understood a third of) and then it dawned on me.

What if I put this amount of preparation into something truly meaningful?

By meaningful I mean more than just it made my family happy, more than just it was memorable, more than just ‘awesome for a day’.

Something that could really change the world- what if I put that kind of heart-and-soul preparation into that?

**Cue a series of questions for your reflection**

What goal are you pursuing? What are you trying achieve, put on, or accomplish? Whether it is small or big, meaningful or just for fun, what is it? Can you identify it?

What kind of preparation are you putting into that?

When is the last time you passionately and meticulously thought through every detail for the thing you wanted, and then began to execute that plan?

When I think about this concept, I’m incredibly inspired.

My pastor was pretty spot-on with his sports metaphor. In fact this concept is often amplified in sports movies. When the underdog knows he is going to be put in for the big game, he practices harder and better than ever before. He studies every film the film room has of that opposing team so that they can know exactly what they are up against. And when the game time comes – they almost always emerge victorious because they were fully ready – despite the numerous odds that were stacked against them.

The parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25 really reminds me of this principle. The metaphor Jesus is using is for us as Christians to always be on guard, as we don’t know when He will come back. But that has little to do with what I’m thinking. I like to think that the 5 wise virgins also had a 3 ring binder, like the one I had for Thanksgiving, which was filled with the details they needed to remember for their trip – like the extra oil that made them so famous.

But truly what is it that we can put that kind of energy into? What is worth it to you?

Perhaps it is building an organization. Maybe you have dreams of a better world for foster children, and you want to do something about it. What kind of heart-and-soul preparation are you putting into that dream? Is every waking moment spent obsessing over the plans for the building space you will use? Have you spent hours thinking through the programs you will put in place? Have you read every document you can get your hands on that speaks to the field you are in? Do you know what you are up against? Will you defeat the opposition, despite the odds? If you become an expert on what your up against, you will know exactly how to win.

Often times fear, lack of resources, or even something like having “a steady job” interferes with this kind of preparation. That kind of preparation is usually saved for special occasions because it is so difficult. But why would you let difficulty be the end point of your great work? If you aren’t living to make the world different, is what you are living for worth it?

Think bigger than just being comfortable. When you do, I believe you will find an enormous amount of fulfillment, you will teach your children (and your children’s children- and their children’s children) something that will last forever – and that is that we are here to not just be, but to be great.

Don’t have resources? What do you have? There is no way that a true winner will be stopped because they didn’t have everything in a row in front of them. Don’t have the building space for your organization? Well your backyard it is. Don’t have money for that project? Get on Pinterest – DIY until your thumbs fall off. Kids taking too much time away from your dream? Find a way to include them in what your doing. Bring the pack n play to a few meetings. You can figure it out, if the cause is important enough.

Honestly, my Thanksgiving was awesome for my family, but one look at the Kardashian Thanksgiving table-scape put me to shame instantly. (Dang you Instagram!) But those memories made were so precious, and the vision of family togetherness that I had really did come through. It may not happen like you think it should always – but with the kind of heart-and-soul preparation I’m talking about – you will win.

I’ve been meditating on what that means to me, and I haven’t fully discovered what it is that is worth that kind of excellent preparation for me. But when I do, I will be sure to share.

Please share with me what this means to you! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

(Also for all those who are pin happy – the rest of this post is all about Thanksgiving! Feel free to share and check out all the ways you can improve your holiday get together’s! )

The most important part was the menu of course! I didn’t get many good pics of the food, but all of these links are pretty close to what mine looked like!


Puff Pastry Tarts

Loaded Sweet Potato Skins

Skinny Spinach and Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms


Roasted Garlic Sage Pesto Pumpkin Soup with fried Pumpkin Seeds

“Pumpkin” Rolls (Mine turned out less than pumpkin looking)

Crispy Autumn Kale Salad

Green Bean Casserole (Non processed!)

Baked Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan

And Grandma’s Stuffing (Grandma on both sides!) No recipe for that yet…


My AMAZING turkey! I use a combination of Anne Burrell’s brine and turkey prep, and I use Alton Brown’s cooking method for a super flavorful and super juicy turkey!! It’s amazing.

Prime Rib that my mother in law cooked! Delish!

Desserts: (other than pies on pies on pies that family brought)

Cranberry Parfaits with Sparkling Cranberries

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Cinnamon chip biscottis with French Hot Chocolate

And of course, a cocktail: The Rummy Pumpkin

And now, please enjoy a slideshow of the pictures that were taken! (I wasn’t able to get everything photographed, sadly 😦 I need a photographer to follow me around I think.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


One thought on “Tea Time: You Get Out What You Put In

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s