Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life


Letting Go of Perfect: Hospitality Hacks

DSCN8736 - CopyNo party or friendly get-together is complete without a mess-up that you can laugh about later, and Easter Sunday breakfast for 60 people at our church was no exception. I poured two liters of boiling water into our 120 cup tea maker without noticing that the serving spigot was open. Ten minutes before guests arrived, I had tea was all over the counter instead of inside the teapot where I needed it!

Now I can laugh, but on Sunday morning I panicked. I’m definitely not Martha Stewart when it comes to having guests, but I don’t let it stop me. A few weeks ago I wrote about letting go of perfect to make room in your heart and home for community. Here are a few practical hospitality hacks for the less than perfect.

Meals and Planning

1.  Develop a repertoire of three easy meals that you can cook in your sleep from ingredients you usually have on hand. These are the dishes you want to cook for guests. Avoid the last minute stress of trying an elaborate recipe for the first time.

2.  Keep a hospitality stash of items like decorative paper plates and napkins, candles, special drinks, frozen lasagna, and chocolate for a quick desert with coffee. These make spontaneous hospitality more do-able.

3.  Use paper plates and plastic cutlery. (At least use them for dessert!) You’re not trying to impress anyone. You’re letting go of perfection to make more space for community in your life.

4.  Host a picnic in your backyard. Kids can run around to their hearts’ content, and clean-up is easier.

5.  Have a pot-luck, so everyone brings something.

6.  Cook up a one-dish meal like taco soup or chili.

7.  Invite friends to weekend breakfast if that’s easier than making dinner.

Before Guests Come

8.  If your house is a wreck, set a timer for a 20 minute rescue clean: run the vacuum, wipe down the bathroom, and clear away clutter. Do what you can and call it clean.

9.  Set the table before you start cooking. Even if you’re behind schedule with cooking, a set table with pretty napkins makes it look like you’re ready for visitors.

10.  If you’re running late, leave an easy task for guests to help you with after they arrive. They can help make salad or set glasses out on the table.

11.  If you have older kids, put them in charge of background music and choosing a game to play after dinner.

After Guests Arrive

12.  If you’re not finished when the doorbell rings, breathe deep and smile. Invite your friends into the kitchen, offer them a drink, and finish your cooking.

13. Let them help if they ask. Better yet, ask for help if you need it.

14.  Put a few dirty dishes in the dishwasher every time you go into the kitchen after the meal. Clean-up will be less overwhelming later.

15.  Try the lovely Turkish custom of cleaning up after dinner before you sit down for dessert. Guests, especially close friends, chip in to help.

As you can see, several of my hospitality hacks involve running late and getting others to help. Both are part of real life around my house. What works for you when you’re having friends over?







Feeling Insignificant? Bloom Where You’re Planted!

DSCN8869 - Copy

As I finally fell into bed on day #184 of our homeschool year, I wondered if what I was doing really mattered.  I thought back over my day. Except for keeping two teenagers from killing each other, I’d done nothing earth-shaking or remarkable.

After breakfast, I hustled the kids to get out their books, checked math, and revised two compositions. I threw a load of laundry into the machine between a science video and a history lesson, and slapped lunch on the table. Later I did a few chores, met a friend for coffee, and rushed to make dinner. Tomorrow would be pretty much the same. Was I making a difference? Continue reading


Why Easter Means You Can Hang on to Hope

Even though everyone’s supposed to celebrate new life at Easter, do you feel like you’re hanging on to hope by the skin of your teeth? Easter means that God can bring new life out of death, and spring carries the same message after the deadness of winter. But sometimes even sunny days and spring flowers can’t sweep away the cobwebs we have on the inside.

The great message of Easter is this: your story isn’t over.

Continue reading


Your True Identity: Dish Washer, Mom, or Princess?


For years I kept a small rhinestone crown above the kitchen sink, so I could see it while I cooked and washed dishes. It reminded me that despite the long hours I spent in the kitchen, I was more than a dish washer and a short order cook. That little crown reminded me of my true identity in Christ. Continue reading


Real-Life Hospitality: “Come on into My Mess!”

come on in

Tray with a broken handle that I keep using.

I’ve decided it’s okay to invite people into my mess. Nothing builds community like opening our homes to friends and family, but the images of perfect homes and perfect food we see on Pinterest can intimidate us. Our living rooms definitely don’t look pin-worthy, and on top of that, we’re too busy to have company. Continue reading


Beautiful, Amazing You: Deeply Loved

Deeply Loved

You are a miracle. Amazing and beautiful. The crown of God’s creation. You’re one of a kind, and God smiled when He made you.  God made you so that He could love you, but during the daily hassles of life, it’s easy to lose touch with the reality that you’re God’s cherished treasure.

A co-worker gossips behind your back. Your husband, bless his heart, tells you that something you’re doing really bothers him, and you’re left wondering if you’re a terrible wife. You fail at something, and you hear that voice inside your head once again, “Can’t you do anything right?” Continue reading


Beauty That Goes Beyond Skin Deep

beauty blogMy 5 year old neighbor, who wears a princess crown, and my 89 year old mother-in-law, who visits the hair salon every week, have something in common: they both want to be beautiful! That longing to be attractive must be part and parcel of being a woman. I read once that women reach the height of their beauty at age 31. I was 31 when I married, and I certainly wanted to be as beautiful as possible on my wedding day.

But if women reach the height of their physical attractiveness at 31, what hope does that leave for the rest of us? Younger women struggle with acne. Middle-aged women face wrinkles and graying hair. Continue reading


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