Holiday Hospitality

Our houses get “decked out” at this time of year, don’t they?  What better time than the holidays to invite folks over?  If you need a couple reasons why it’s a great time to show hospitality, read on.

1. When you’ve gone to so much trouble to get everything sparkling and gleaming with decorations, you’ve already taken care of getting the house ready for guests!

2.  There are usually enough snacks and treats in our kitchens to fill the neighborhood – so go ahead – fill up the neighborhood!  Invite your neighbors over for a cup of coffee and treat! Invite them over for cheese and crackers and fresh fruit. Look what you have in abundance and share it! If you need a delicious and easy sweet popcorn, this Almond Toffee Popcorn is a favorite of mine.

Continue reading “Holiday Hospitality”
dessert · hospitality · Outside decor · spring · spring cleaning · Tablescapes

Happy Springtime & Ideas for Your Home

I’m so thankful it’s officially springtime! I’m devoting today’s post to all things spring – from tablescapes to cleaning lists, I’ve got some ideas to help you enjoy this season to the fullest!

Easter is right around the corner, so look below for some ideas for your table and your menu! But as you consider inviting guests over, read this post to be reminded of the best way to open your home in order to sweetly share the Gospel.

If you want to set a spring-y table, here are five different centerpieces you could easily create.

Wintertime makes your outdoor areas a mess and less than inviting! You’ll find ideas to refresh your porches for spring here.

Lighter meals and fresh ingredients are perfect for spring suppers. This Salmon Salad is amazing and perfect for springtime!

If you need some Spring cleaning lists to get you motivated on cleaning winter out of your house, check out this post that is full of great plans!

The result will be something delicious and beautiful, and you won’t be exhausted!

Finally, my all-time favorite Spring/Easter Cake is this Coconut Cake with Lemon filling. It’s a family tradition that we all anticipate!

Refresh your home with a Happy Spring!

hospitality · Hostess Goals · Thanksgiving

Hosting the Holidays With Joy, Part 2

I love to have guests in our home and my guest book is reflective of that, but I also know that it takes a lot of planning, work and preparation. It’s my desire today to complete the list I started earlier this week and give you some tips about how you can have guests in your home this holiday season and do it with joy, rather than fear or dread.

  • Reason #5 why we dread hosting is that we don’t feel like our home is good enough or big enough.
    I can remember days when we lived in our ranch style home and didn’t have a big enough kitchen to host my whole family – I believe we had 14! What to do? We set up tables in our humble basement. It certainly wasn’t fancy, but we managed! I even had to use the church oven because at the time, my oven was so small the turkey didn’t fit inside! But all that isn’t what I remember! I remember that we had so much fun! At the end of the day we all piled into our church van and went to Bristol Speedway to see the Christmas lights! I think if we don’t make a big deal about being squashed together, our guests won’t either.
    If you don’t feel your house is “nice” enough, do what you can to make it fit for company –
    ~Clean the spaces you’ll be using. Make the bathroom shine. Unclutter all counters. Dust. Vacuum. Sweep off the front porch. Make sure the kitchen sink and stove are clean and ready for use.
    ~Don’t apologize for your house! If you start pointing out all its flaws and problems, you’re not going to make your guests feel welcome. Use what you have, make the most of it and be thankful. It’s God’s provision for you. Use it for His glory.
    ~Focus on your time together – not on the beauty (or lack thereof) of your home. Turn on a playlist of instrumental music for background beauty. Light the candles. Set the tables and turn your interest to your guests. That’s what they’ll remember.
  • Reason #6 why we fear hosting is not knowing what to do before or during the meal. Perhaps you fear “small talk” and not knowing what to say. Those gaps in conversation can feel awkward. Or if little ones are tearing through the house you feel your blood pressure rising.
    ~Planning ahead for children is your best option. Have a little box of things they can play with in a secluded spot. If it’s a pretty day, offer outdoor activities – balls or jump ropes to play with. If they’re older, you could set out coloring books, board games or puzzles.
    ~Share blessings. Why not plan on going around the table or the room and having everyone share three things for which they’re the most thankful? Again, focus on your guests instead of worrying you won’t know what to say. Ask them questions about their lives – “How did you spend Thanksgiving when you were a child?” “What family traditions did you family do on the holidays?” “What you favorite memory of Thanksgiving?”
  • Reason #7 – Fearing how to keep everyone entertained.
    ~Plan for some board games or group games for the time your guests hang around after the meal. Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese Pizza is a hilarious game that will loosen everyone up!
Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza Card Game

~Maybe everyone could work on a huge puzzle together. Set it up on a game table and let guests work on it throughout the day.
~Have a simple craft the children can work on. There are so many ideas on Pinterest!
~While the guys watch the football game, have the ladies work on crafting a simple Christmas ornament together.
~Don’t miss the opportunity to turn everyone’s hearts upwards to the Lord. Read Psalm 100 together. Stop and give thanks in prayer to the Giver of every good gift! Perhaps you could also sing a song together. Dear friends of ours always close our fellowship at their table by singing while our host plays the guitar. What a blessing that time always is!

I pray that these suggestions have been helpful. If you have other needs or questions, please feel free to leave a comment, or email me using the address on my contact information page.

Here is a detailed post about how you can be a gracious guest, and also tips on hosting. You’ll find hostess gift ideas that will be a small way to say, “Thanks for inviting us!”


Here’s a favorite Cranberry Streusel Muffin you should consider for Thanksgiving morning breakfast!


Hospitality – Who & How

What exactly is hospitality?  Here’s my simple definition – Giving generously to meet the needs of another person. That could include a meal, a place to sleep, a cup of coffee, a listening ear.  We must be sensitive to realize the needs of others and do what we can, (by God’s enabling) to meet them.

People are just not into having people over any more! We’re all too busy to take the time, too worried that our house isn’t clean enough, or that we just won’t measure up on some way, shape or form.   We wonder how in the world we can fit one more thing into our schedule.  Here’s what Martha Peace said in her book,

“So where do we find the time to follow Mary to the feet of Jesus? Where do we find the energy to serve him?…Because we are his children, Kitchen service will be the natural result of Living Room intimacy with God. Like Jesus, we must be about our Father’s business. The closer we draw to the heart of the Father, the more we see his heart for the world. And so we serve, we minister and we love, knowing that when we do it to ‘the least of these,’ we have done it unto Christ.”- (Having a Mary Heart…pg. 10)

It’s after we’ve had the quiet time with the Lord that we desire to serve Him.  We don’t desire to just stay in the living room – we want to look for others whom we could serve.

We are out to bless – not impress! Perhaps this one thought is the most important.  Lay aside all the expectations of the Food Network and Martha Stewart and just set out to be a blessing and you are sure to accomplish that goal!
Let me share with you a few ideas to reduce the stress of being hospitable. 
1.  Do as much as you can as far ahead as you can. This one principle will give you more peace than you can imagine!

  • Set the table
  • Set out serving dishes
  • Prepare coffee pot
  • Make any dish ahead of time that you can
  • Slice vegetables for salads

2.   Bake dessert – freeze

  • Cookie dough in rolls
  • Cookie dough in balls – freeze on cookie sheet, then place them in a ziplock bag
  • Brownies
  • Cake layers
  • Uniced cupcakes

3.   Bake breads – freeze

  • Muffins
  • Crescent rolls
  • Sweet breads
  • Rolls

4.   Make casserole and freeze

  • Lasagna
  • Chili or soup

5.  Mix up salads (without dressing)

  • 7-Layer Salad
  • Fruit salad with citrus added to keep fruit from browning
  • Frozen fruit salads

6.  Keep some sweets in the freezer and keep boxes of snack foods like crackers in your pantry.

  • Angel food cake
  • Pudding mixes
  • Pound cake
  • Canned pie filling

7.  Use your crock pot.  Putting a meal in the crock pot will ease your schedule and allow you to do other things all day while dinner is cooking!

  • Put a turkey breast in the crock pot with Onion soup mix and a little water.  Cook on high 1 hour and low for 7 hours.

8.  Communicate – Talk to the Lord about your plans. Ask Him who you should invite over. Talk to your family. Talk to your guests. Do they have food allergies or restrictions?

9.  Fifteen minutes before your guests arrive, sit down with a cup of coffee and rest!  Pray and ask the Lord to help you be a blessing to your guests and demonstrate the heart of hospitality – To bless them, not impress them!

10.  Turn on some soft music and light candles before guests arrive.  Dimming the lights will make it cozy and hide any dust!

To whom would the Lord have you show hospitality?  Consider:

1.  Strangers – – Heb. 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares 

  • new church attenders 
  •  new neighbors. 

2.  Fellow Chrisitans –     Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
• Sunday school teacher/students

• Youth pastor

• Sunday school class members

3.   Unsaved – Phil 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

• Child’s teacher at school

• Co-worker

• Visitor at church

4.  The Weary – II Timothy 1:16 The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain

• Friend –Needs encouragement – New illness, stress, marriage problem, homeschooling mom…

• Missionary, Christian worker

• Evangelist

I pray this will encourage you to be on the lookout for someone the Lord would lay on your heart.  Be like Onesiphorus…Paul said, “He oft refreshed me.”!

With love,