Lavish Hospitality 18

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Update on this blog series:

Thanks for reading.  I’m learning new ways to practice hospitality – I hope you are too.  I just had a good friend design a cover for the e-book that I hope will come out early 2018 (or regular book if anyone wants to publish it.).  I will start pulling all these quotes from each day and writing in November!

Today’s post is about something that effects and affects every area of hospitality.  Our humility.  Left to ourselves we are not humble people.  We are prideful and only care about ourselves.  Our rights.  Our ways.  Our happiness.  The selfie-generation didn’t just start a few years ago.  It has always been.

With our God: come to Him with our weariness. He will give rest.  Come to him with honor and adoration – He will show Himself to us.  Come to Him with our desires – He will fill our hands.

With our spouses: Put their needs above our own.  Seek to outdo one another in showing honor.  My husband excels at this – all.the.time.  He has told me in recent weeks that I’ve grown in humility in the time that he’s known me.  That is in direct correlation to God putting him in my life almost 7 years ago now and the work of the Spirit in my heart.

With our children: We mess up as mamas.  When I mess up (often), I will usually go to my kids, get right in their faces (affection), and talk to them really softly and gently.  I think I do this because I want to mend the brokenness, and act in opposite fashion than I just did: loud, harsh, pushing them away.

With our community: When you open your home to people who don’t live within our houses, we speak volumes to their need – and our need.  Our need for community.  That alone speaks of humility because it says that we are not enough in and of ourselves.  God made us for community.  He made us for relationship.  I stink at this sometimes, especially when going out.  I was a poor representation of the gospel this past week at a new friends.  It had been a bad day, it was my son’s birthday, and I don’t think I barely looked anyone in the eyes and I just barely answered their questions.  I didn’t want to be there and others could tell.  I can’t go back – but I can move forward out of my brokenness and let Him do a new thing.

Quote taken from Lord Have Mercy (Ellen Miller).  Photo by Evergold Photography of a cupcake I made.

Write31: Lavish Hospitality (Day 1)

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Day 1

Day 2 

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13

Day 14

Day 15

Day 16

Day 17

Day 18

Day 19

Day 20

Day 21

Day 22

Day 23

Day 24

Day 25

Day 26

Day 27

Day 28

Day 29

Day 30

Every October comes around and there is group of women who set out to write a blog a day for the entire month.  Every year I try to do it, and every year I fail.

This year, I’m trying something new.  I’m working on a book (Lavish Hospitality) and want to use this space, this month, to work out the 31 short chapters of the book.

This is not going to be a book about food and blankets and setting up guest rooms.  Yes, partly, there will be some recipes and stuff like this.  But, hospitality is more than just setting a pretty table.

I want to “prepare a space for lavish grace”.  Here the the sub-headings:

To my heart.

To my husband.

To my children.

To my neighbors.

In my home.

In my church.

Grace was poured out lavishly on us.  We need to be ready to pour it out lavishly on others.

Hospitality has a southern ring to is.  You may think of cozy reading corners, mums in the Fall, tea and coffee, flowers and guest rooms.  It can be those things.  But, just because you have coffee set out doesn’t mean you have a welcoming home for others.

So, in the next 30 days I’m going to be sharing 30 quotes and thoughts on them.  These quotes will help me formulate thoughts on this topic, and I hope they will encourage you to practice lavish hospitality in your world.

Using Your Home For Ministry

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As a mom of preschoolers, even ones who like to get out and roam the city every day, we also like to use our home as a place of ministry. But, it can be hard to figure out schedules ways to do ministry.

Hospitality is one way we can be like God to the world and to our family.  The Simplest Way to Change the World is a helpful little book that starts with the theology of God being hospitable to us and then gives helpful ways to be hospitable.

My favorite part of the book was their chapter on how hospitality is a part of God’s nature. How he gave extravagantly to those who were his enemies.  How he would go to great lengths.

When we are trying to start practicing hospitality, let’s not turn to Southern Living or Instagram to know how to be hospitable, but look to the Word at how God is hospitable to us.  Then we can pray that we can live out our relationship with God to our neighbors, families, and friends.  That doesn’t mean we have to tell everyone the full Gospel outline every time they walk in the door.  But, it does mean we can learn how to use our homes to glorify God, teach our children how to be hospitable, and welcome those unlike us into our home.

The authors share great recommendations on how to do this as well, but you can simply use these as ideas – and start your own ministry in your home to your people.

Thanks Moody for this book and all thoughts are my own.

Total Family Makeover (a review)

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As my kids get older, I think I start to notice all of my expectations of parenting get washed away.  When I was growing up, we lived in a neighborhood with mostly family, went to a small church where we really only interacted with 1-2 families, and I went to a Christian school and really don’t remember doing things as families with anyone.  Of course we had friends, but it wasn’t essential in our upbringing to surround ourselves with community and family.

When I get to college that all changed for me.  I surrounded myself with families and loved them and learned so much, but it wasn’t until 20 years later that I had a family of my own.

I now want to do a couple of things in family/parenting life:

  1.  Make sure my mister and I are always on the same page especially in our calendar and parenting.  This is so crucial to success.
  2. Surround ourselves with those who are ahead of us, but also with us in our stage of parenting – and who share similar grace and parenting styles.  Community is so important.
  3. Pour grace into my husband and my children.  I think the main way I do this right now is through asking forgiveness each time I do something wrong (which is often).

In Total Family Makeover, Melissa Spoelstra, tackles some important topics on how you can work toward a more discipleship centered home – because isn’t this our most important task as parents – to raise those who will Lord-willing seek after God because of HIs grace?

If you normally don’t read book introductions, read this one.  She hit the nail on the head.  Sundays are usually the day I feel the worst as a parent.  My kids disobey walking into church, or don’t obey me in childcare, or always need discipline.  While seemingly most around me have perfect children and I feel are always looking at my with disdain or disapproval.  I know this isn’t the case, but I always feel like a failure.  She tackles this and is so encouraging.

The areas of discipleship she highlights in this practical book: praying together, Bible time, mentoring, church community, serving, rest, giving, and evangelism.  All of these are personally important, and definitely are important for your family.

My one suggestion = read this book.  Maybe read it with your husband, or just give him your takeaways.  Pray together and see which area you can tackle first.  Its like if your house is a mess and you try to clean the whole things at once, you’ll get discouraged.  I would start with one thing and then go on to the next.  You’ll see God reward your obedience in these areas with success and grace.  He wants our families to be more Christ-like!  He is for you in this endeavor!

This post is sponsored by Litfuse who gave me the book.  All opinions are my own.  And you can win a great prize pack for a fun family night (think free pizza and books and games!)  Enter here

Little Tasks to Tidy Your Home

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My husband would so appreciate this post!  He is so much tidier than I am – I think he knew that before he proposed and he still did, but I can always be better at it.  A clean and peaceful home are two things that really show him that I love him.  And when you know your husband’s love language, shouldn’t you try to shout it loud and clear all day long!

Well, some things I can work on.  Little tasks throughout the day.  I don’t have to spend all day cleaning or anything like that.  But, if I just find a few things each day that I can concentrate on – it will help in the long run.

  1.  It takes me less than 10 minutes to unload, load, and wash the dishes.  Sometimes I do this in the morning, sometimes I do it at night – but 10 minutes.  I sometimes have to tell myself this to get to the kitchen and set the timer.  Then I realize it never takes as long as I think it does.
  2. Find little sections of the house to declutter/clean and you’ll feel better about your house in general.  You don’t have to tackle a whole room at once.  I have two young boys and our house is filled with toys.  But, if I can do something while they are watching Curious George or playing on the back porch – it will be a blessing to all involved.Small Cleaning Projects IMG_20160318_131642964
  3. Keep my table and hutch cleaned off.  This is huge.  It didn’t happen when I was growing up, but since getting married I’ve always strived to keep the kitchen table clean and the hutch display worthy.  Now, we use our kitchen table for crafts, coloring, eating, snacking, playing games, but then when we are done we clean it up. Flowers all around
  4. Pick up the toys (or other items) around your house at the end of the night.  This is a great way to teach preschoolers responsibility.  Have them help clean up before bed time, putting all their toys away in an place that is reachable for them.
  5. Make your bed.  My husband usually does this in the morning which is such a blessing.  But, I know that if our bed is made, it makes our whole bedroom seem clean, bright, and cheery.  And I can more easily fold clothes there during the day.  And who doesn’t like to fold clothes?

What do you do in your home that is helpful in keeping it clean and tidy?

a little bit of life (book review)

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Processed with VSCOko review,

Sometimes yall, life is a little bit crazy.  Ok – sometimes life is a lot crazy.  Can anyone relate?

Our lives as a little family have felt like this since we day we returned from our honeymoon.  But, now we are again in an extra chaotic season of having to move and not knowing where in the world we are going.  Our townhome that we’ve been renting in ATL for two years is going up for sale in oh, say, 24 days.  And our lease is up the end of April.  And we have two toddlers.  And yeah – so there you have it.  Another move.  Another change.

Well, even though our lives may be chaotic, and at times our home, my life doesn’t have to be chaotic.  Between lettering, photo shoots, spring break, packing, and then normal weekly activities, an early Easter, potty training – yes, life is crazy.

Shannon Upton, in her new book Building Your Househas given me great encouragement, grace, and instruction on how to be a wise mom who builds a God-centered home.  (Thank you Shannon for the book, btw)  When my mister and I were dating, he asked me what I thought of the verse in Proverbs that says “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”  I just thought that meant keeping things clean.

Oh, how much I had to learn.  I knew it meant other things – but didn’t realize the importance of all those little things.  4.5 years into marriage, I am realizing it even more.

Shannon gives you helpful DOABLE tips on how to keep from cluttering up your soul, your home, and your life.  Prayer is the key – but prayer isn’t all.  There are certain activities you must do.  But, with these to -do items, she gives grace, practical tips, spiritual reasons that might be at the heart of why you need to do these things (like dealing with materialism and why you hoard possessions or idolatry or fear of man when you are too busy to do what needs to be done.)

This book can even be a great tool for new moms or women in your church because she includes a study guide – and I’ve found that being around women who will encourage me with ways to keep my home and keep my family on track is very rewarding.

On that note, I need to check on my eggs that are boiling on the stove so I can eat lunch here at 1:20pm.

Marriage, Ministry and Hospitality

Eating, and hospitality in general, is a communion, and any meal worth attending by yourself is improved by the multiples of those with whom it is shared.

Jesse Browner

Marriage includes many joys!

One of the highlights of marriage and ministry for my husband is the idea and general enthusiasm I have for hospitality.  He is a very hospitable person – but how “odd” is it for a family from your church to come to lunch at the home of a bachelor?  Even one who keeps his home immaculately and can cook a great meal.  E was grateful for marriage for many reasons but one of them was his increased opportunity to practice hospitality.  I’m all for it.

Most anytime I mention an idea I have to practice hospitality, my husband gives me the thumbs up.  Here are some that we’ve had the joy to do in our home, yes, with an infant, yes, moving to a new town.

1. Write the Word parties: where a group of women come over one night every other month to talk about the word and write out or journal a specific book of the Bible.  All I need is chairs and maybe extra pens.  What is optional: coffee, tea, water, evening goodies.  My husband hangs out with the little mister so I can focus on talking with the women who come over.

2.  Worship Ministry Birthday Parties: My husband is a worship pastor and loves pastoring those in the choir and orchestra.  And I am not a part of his choir, but I do want to be involved in his ministry.  So, each month we pick a night to have the birthday people for that month (and their immediate families) over for a dessert time.  I love to bake – sometimes I get to be creative, sometimes I don’t.  But each month it has been a joy to get to know families – no matter how many birthday people can make it that month.

3.  Men’s Discipleship Groups: Every other week my husband would meet with a group of men from the church to discuscuss a book on church ministry and leadership.  I loved exploring some new breakfasts with this group, but I have to admit this one was the hardest because I experienced first trimester through this one.  Early mornings were rough, but the men were gracious as was my husband.  They survived some weeks on bagels or store bought muffins.  And with this one, much of it could be prepared the night before and ready for Eric to welcome them in the morning.

4.  Hang Out times:  This one I’m sure many of you do anyway.  I love being able to have women in our home during the day while E is at work.  Baby can be sleeping, or other babies can come along and join in on the fun. Especially helpful if you just have something to drink on hand – but that is not necessary either.  Fellowship in your home doesn’t require anything but an open door and a welcome smile.

5.  Sunday Lunches: Our Sundays are long days as you can imagine, but the crockpot comes in handy for this one!  Or you can always pick up a pizza on the way home!  Pick a different single, couple, or family.  This one with my family where it is right now is easy – because right when we get home little mister goes to bed, so he sleeps through almost anything.  The afternoon is cozy and good for conversation.  We don’t do this one a lot because of the hecticness of Sundays, but it is fun when it happens.

6.  Porch Nights: This one is about to start.  We have many single ladies in our church and I love ministering to them, discipling them, and getting to know them.  We have a great porch with plenty of room.  So, we are having a quarterly theme for the single ladies to get together and hang out – no agenda necessary.  We are doing appetizers in August.

This post was meant to be a help to you – to know that you don’t have to have a big house, lots of money, a love for cooking, or home decorating to practice hospitality.  I love opening our home to others.  And God gives us the command to be hospitable to others!  Have fun fulfilling this command!

31Days: New Home (Day 24)

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In early October we moved from a 1700+ square foot townhome into a 900ish sq ft apartment.  Needless to say, 2/3 of our beloingings are at someone else’s home being stored for the time being.
I saw this sentence “we’ve been duped into believing that perfection is the ultimate goal of our homes” on the Nester’s blog from a few weeks ago.  It kinda hit me about our new temporary home.
E’s need for cleanliness and orderliness has rubbed off on me.  Growing up, our home was only clean and decluttered 5 minutes after the cleaning ladies left or 5 minutes before company came.  I didn’t mind living like that.  But now I do.
And, no, with a newborn, our home is not spotless and tidy.  But, I do try to do the laundry and the dishes every day.  I try to make the bed every morning, partly because I know it will bless my husband.
But, other than that – that’s about all I have time or energy for.  We can strive, for being good stewards of what we’ve been given – not for perfection.

Thursday Thoughts: Christ-like Hospitality

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Yesterday in our ed-staff meeting, one of the pastors at my church brought up the fact that one of the times the NT uses the word example is when Christ shows the example to the disciples of service: wraps a towel and washes their feet.  The display of service, grace, unmerited reward, purity.

I started thinking about how I use my home for hospitality.  I can make all the excuses I want: time, small apt, shared apt, you name it – but hospitality is still a command that we need to follow.  This isn’t going to be a blog post on the hospitality commands or all the verses that talk about it – but more the practical and attitude of showing hospitality in your home.

1.  It is not about cooking fancy foods.  I remember having a couple in my home back after Christmas.  I shared with my brother while I was home that I was nervous about what to cook for them because she is a personal chef and he is just a great cook.  He said they would probably just like a normal meal.  Well, God helped me figure out what to cook for them by causing snow to fall so I arrived home just an hour or two before their arrival.  I picked up a rotisserie chicken from HT, baked some sweet potatoes, roasted some green beans and mushrooms (love) and then created a little semi-homemade trifle dessert.  Simple, yet yummy.  But, I was still worried about what they thought.  Good thing they enjoyed it.

2.  It is not about impressing your guests.  I am the type with most people that I want to vacuum before they come over, make sure everything is in its place, etc.  But, I know the guests that I love because when they come over I don’t worry about if they see that my house is lived in.  I always need to be a good steward of what God has given me and not be lazy about picking up my home – but I do not need to bring out the dust rag and Pledge 30 minutes before you walk in my front door.  We need to be always ready to have anyone come in our home.  I know what a blessing it is for me to walk into a home of families I love and there are toys scattered everywhere, dishes in the sink, maybe things aren’t perfect – but neither is the guest!

3.  It is about showing grace.  It is always an opportunity to share with your guests the grace of God.  God has been so kind to me that I need to pass on those gifts and that grace to others.

3.  It is about comfort.  I want my apt to be a place of comfort for others now.  But, I think more importantly, I want that in my home one day – maybe as a family – maybe as a single – I want to have my home be a place of comfort, life, and ease.  I want people to come and be able to “make themselves at home” and come and go as they please.  I want my friends to have a home away from home, a retreat.  I have wonderful friends who have modeled that for me through the years, and I pray that I can be a blessing to others in the same way.  I was just mentioning to someone last night that I don’t want people in my home all the time, because we all need our downtime, our be by ourselves time, strictly family time – so there needs to be guidelines – but again, grace, Kim, grace.

4.  It is not about getting something in return.  We do not give so that others will give back.  We do not shower grace in anticipation of what we might get in the future.

5.  It is about having the mind of Christ.  I need to keep this in mind.  Christ wasn’t worried about if the towel wrapped around his waist was clean and pressed and smelled like lavender.  He wasn’t concerned with the floor being swept.  His one concern was teaching them humility and service.  I want that pressed into me when I have folks in my home – or when I have the ability to serve at a function.  The pastors I have the opportunity to serve with model this well: if we have a meeting with food – it is mostly the pastors that are the first to jump up and clear the tables of the plates and trash.  It still surprises me every time.  I am grateful for their humble hearts and their willingness to serve us.

I write these things out of conviction and out of yearning to be more Christ-like, not that I have this all together.  Again – this whole preaching the gospel to myself.  Knowing that to die to self is the only way to live to Christ.  And that is my gain.

Here are some hopefully helpful quotes from wise women that I hope will encourage you in your effort to proclaim the gospel in your hospitality:

“God urges us to deny ourselves, to lose our lives, and to give preference to others.” – Dorothy Patterson, BeAttitudes for Women

“The home may not (be) a place of luxury, but (hopefully it is) a place of community.” – Carolyn McCulley, Radical Womanhood

“Simplicity frees you to extend hospitality more easily and more often, so that it can become a true ministry of the Christian home regardless of other demands on your time and energy.” – Eilizabeth Skoglund, The Welcoming Hearth

“Cultivating a love for the home means acquiring practical skills and training so that you can intentionally make your home a mission field, not a museum.” – Carolyn McCulley, Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye (and just to add…this mission field does not only apply to having non-believers in your home – but I truly think it also means to have the Body in your home and show them Christ.)

I hope this post encourages you.  It has me.  Even as I put the final period.

I am NOT a hoarder!

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I never want to be on that show.

Many of you know my love of all things ELR and Jess LC (MakeUnder My Life) – two fantastic blogs I read and love on a daily basis.  Jessica did a recent post (which she has done before) on getting rid of 50 things that you don’t need.  Cleaning out.  Living intentionally.  So…here are my 51 (I am an overachiever) things that I am taking to Goodwill today.

The only thing I am replacing it with is a lamp for beside my bed so I can read at night without getting up out of my warm coziness!

What do you have in your house that you don’t need or use anymore and how can you live your life with intentionality – even in your possessions?

For where your treasure is – there your heart will be also! – Jesus