Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Hospitality - Keep it Simple

God doesn't expect us to live a life full of stress and then blame it on Him.  Sounds crazy, but isn't' that what we sometimes do?  We do things "for God" and then turn around and stress because we spent all of our money (or time) and now we don't have any left.

I have news for you!!  Good News!

God has not asked us to do anything that will put us in debt or cause our children to starve. He has asked us to be hospitable and love people with the resources He has already given us. He has asked us to trust Him to provide the things we need.  The key is realizing that all these things are just that -things.  Things that God has given us to use for HIM.  What good are things if not used to make a difference in someone's life?

So, how do I keep it simple? 

Remember, hospitality is NOT about me and my things.  It's about others and their needs.  I've never had anyone get upset with me because my dishes don't match or my floor has dirt on it. 

In fact, sometimes when I know I'm about to have a lot of people over, *whispering* I don't even mop the floor till AFTER they leave for 2 reasons.

One - they're just going to mess it all up again anyway
Two - there will be so many people in and around that no one will notice it all anyway. (we don't even ask people to take their shoes off anymore because we don't have room for all the shoes!)

Open the doors and use the yard!  Grill or cook over a camp fire outside.  I, personally, have plans to screen the porch in to keep the bugs away.

Light up your entry way away from the door!  Put Christmas lights on the far side of the porch to light the porch and keep the bugs away from the door and the entry of your home.  This way you don't have to worry about people coming and going because there's not a swarm of mosquitoes hovering in the doorway waiting to come in with them.

Use disposable plates and dishes!  Enough said.  This is helpful for obvious reasons.

Let your guests help if they offer! Not only does this help you, but it makes them feel useful and I have learned that it helps conversation to flow more smoothly.  People are more apt to open up when they're working and the eye to eye contact isn't a factor.

Use your crock pot(s) or roaster!   I have baked up to 30 potatoes in my roaster at a time. I have a kid or two wash and prep the potatoes and throw them in the roaster. They bake in the roaster as they would in the oven (except that they are on my counter or in the floor of my dinning room which frees up my oven for other things).  When they are all done, you can turn the heat down and keep them warm until it's time to serve.  I usually allow people to serve themselves right out of the roaster.

Sandwiches!!  We serve sandwiches more often than not on Sunday nights after church.  I get 3 different meats and 3 different cheeses, some loaves of bread, big lettuce  leaves (for wraps) and some condiments.  Ask guests to bring sides and other sandwich toppings.  Set it all out with some paper plates and let everyone serve themselves.

Kid/Budget friendly tip - set some peanut butter and jelly out for the kids.  Most kids prefer it, and it's cheaper!!  Win. Win.  You'll be shocked at the amount of adults that eat it, too. 

Save yourself a mess...or don't.  :) Ask visitors to remove their shoes, or just go with it....  Sometimes the shoes spread to and fro throughout the whole house is worse than whatever dirt they might be bring in....just my opinion.

Plastic Cups or Not??  Use plastic/disposable cups to cut back on washing dishes or, serve chilled bottled water and cans of soda to cut back on plastic cups left out everywhere (and the additional cost of cups).  If you decide to use plastic cups, try to get as many different color as you can this way kids especially can remember what color they had to help cut back on the confusion, and don't forget a sharpie for names!

Serving made simple: put things out assembly line style and allow people to serve themselves.  You may want to ask parents to help serve their children or do it yourself. Most parents will automatically help their children, but I have learned this is not always the case.

Simplify!! do what works for you and your family or the specific guests you're having at that moment! Change things up here and there to see if something else works for you and depending on the specific company and their needs.

Keep an extra fridge in the garage for company.  We were gifted an older fridge someone no longer wanted and we keep it in the garage loaded with all the sodas and things the kids understand are off limits.

Ask for help with the food...especially the drinks or sides and desserts (or whatever you don't like to make yourself). ;)

Keep the kids busy:  Have a game/child safe area ready to keep children busy. Put an older child or teenager in charge of that area for safety reasons. Invite families with children of the same ages so they keep each other occupied.  Think safety.  Always be aware of who's around the kids and what is going on in that area.

Care for your littles beforehand: feed your children (especially babies) before the company arrives and teach your older children to wait till everyone has gone through the line once before they get their plate.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hospitality - A Lifestyle

As with any habit in life we must practice hospitality.  Practice makes perfect and you will be shocked at how little practice you need to become proficient!  People don't remember what you have or what you fed them as much as how you made them feel. 

Make your life about other people. Always. 

Smile at strangers. Be polite.  Ask questions that show interest.  For the most part, people love to be noticed and they respond if they feel like you have something in common. 

Personal example:  "Your baby is beautiful! How old is she? I have two that are about that age.  It's a fun age isn't it?" 

If the conversation flows well and you feel comfortable you might even get a chance to invite people to church.

Look for clues that tell you something about that person. For instance, it's not hard to see that some are or have been in the military.

Personal example:  "How long did you serve in the military? I grew up in the military. My dad is retired military.  Yes, I'm a brat....you have no idea! :)  By the way, our church has a Hero Sunday every year! You should definitely join us.  In fact, we'd love to have you this Sunday!"

Hospitality is a life style.

It's NOT about me. It's about loving people where they are and helping them to the next step in their lives. It's about noticing others and their needs and meeting those needs.  If God is the center of my life (as He should be) and people are at the center of His heart, then my life will naturally center around others.

My husband and I deliberately bought a house that could be used for the ministry. We wanted to use it to reach people. While the front of the house was amazing and great for company, the back was small and there was just not enough storage.

The same month we moved into the house I discovered I was pregnant.  I was shocked because we had just purchased a house that was already a bit small when it came to bedrooms and closet space. We decided to go on faith that the baby would be a boy. In which case, he would fit snugly in his brother's room. Not ideal, but in our finite minds it was the only thing that would work.

We very quickly discovered that we were not having A baby, we were having TWO babies! Boys or girls, it didn't matter at this point! There was simply not enough room!  We started second guessing ourselves. The only thing we could think to do was sell the house and get one with more bedrooms.

About a month later, my husband came home and told me that "the men" had decided to add on to our house for us and that it would be our Christmas gift from the church. We would not need to pay for any of it!! WOW!!

There's no way you can convince me that God won't bless you for giving what you have to Him. We now have two very large, brand new bedrooms added on to the back of our house with a HUGE closet in between them that can be turned into a bathroom one day when/if we decide to sell! God provided and He will continue to do so as long as we are willing to give it all to His service.

Having a house is a lot of work. Cleaning and upkeep...the list is endless, but the fact that it's God's house makes the burden lighter.  Whenever I see something that needs repaired or updated (like the super ugly light fixture hanging above the counter in the picture below:), I simply point it out to God and remind Him that this is His house and wait for Him to provide. It is amazing how He provides!

My point is that it doesn't matter what you have, or how nice it is. What matters is what you do with it and to whom it belongs.  Are you using what you have to serve the Lord?  I promise you, if you decide to be thankful for what you have and use it for HIM, He will bless you and provide beyond what you can imagine.  I don't have the nicest serving trays or dishes, in fact, none of them match, but they do hold food, so no one seems to care or even notice.  I use what I have and we make it work. Over time and in crazy ways, God has provided all kind of things we have needed. (Seriously, you would be amazed at the ways He has provided some of my things!) There are still a few things I would like to have, but until He provides them, we are going to do with out.  Life will go on and prayerfully, people will continue to visit in our home and leave feeling loved and blessed.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Hospitality in the Bible

Romans 12:13 - Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another...distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

Matthew 25:35-40 - For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, LORD, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Proverbs 31:18 - ...her candle goeth not out...  
To understand the meaning of this verse you must understand Jewish culture at the time it was written.  It was customary to keep a candle burning in the window of your home as a signal to passers by that you were home and they could stop if they needed help of any kind as there were not many hotels or restaurants.  It was not uncommon to help those in need of food or a place to rest for the night. It is obvious that the writer of Proverbs 31 wanted her son to have a "virtuous woman" and being hospitable was considered part of the package. 

If you stop and think about it, a vast majority took place in someone's home.

The Shunammite Woman - she hosted God's man every time he was in town and eventually had her husband build an extra room on to their home just for him. This was no small undertaking, and God blessed her and her family greatly for being hospitable.

Queen Esther invited Mordicai to a banquet (not to mention all the banquets her fun loving husband hosted!).

Rahab hid the spies on the roof of her house. 

Jael won a huge victory for Israel when she invited Sisera to her home and then nailed his head to the ground.  (I, personally, would not recommend this type of behavior with company, but... :O)

Mary and Martha - Jesus spent many hours in their home before and after the death and resurrection of their brother.

Zacchaeus - He didn't know Jesus and only hoped to get a glimpse of Him from his perch in the tree. Jesus called him by name and told him He was going to visit him at his house. It seems that Zacchaeus was more shocked that Jesus knew his name than that He had invited Himself over for lunch.

The Last Supper took place in what we know as "the Upper Room". This upper room was a part of someone's home. We are not told whos. Very possibly it was Peter's home as there is a story about his mother in law getting up and serving people immediately after Jesus raised her from the dead.  (That's some kind of work ethic right there!)  Maybe it was Mary's house.  We are not told who owned this mysterious "upper room", but we do know that it was used to feed Jesus and His disciples on the night before He was betrayed and later He met with the disciples there after His resurrection. It is probable that Jesus and His friends felt very comfortable in this home and met there often.

Peter went to the home of Rodah when he was freed from prison and found a group of his friends there praying for him.

The first church was started in homes. Many today would be aghast at the idea of holding prayer meetings or Bible studies in homes, but that was how the early church worked....daily and in every home....

What did Jesus say in Matthew25:40? "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

I truly want my home to be a place where others feel comfortable and Jesus is honored and lifted up. I cannot serve Jesus in my home in a physical since, but I can allow HIM to love others through me in my home.

Saturday, June 17, 2017


Wow!! It's been forever!

So many new challenges and changes since last I wrote.  So many blessings with trials mixed in.  So many things to talk about and thank God for.

Not even sure where to start, so let's just start with a brief update on my family.  In so many ways we have been through the fire and come out (nearly) unscathed.... It's funny how God works. He sends trials that seem way too hard and then when it's all said and done you realize that you're better off.  Better because you learned how to respond. Better because you learned how to help another hurting person (or what not to do). Better off because you learned to trust Him even more .

So.....it's been nearly 4 years since I have been able to blog faithfully.  There are several reasons. One, my youngest grew old enough to attend school, which meant I had to work to help pay the bill.  While I was blessed to work as a secretary and teacher's aid/substitute at the Christian school they attended, I missed being home where I belong.

Second, my computer died. Through a series of events (which I will certainly tell about) I began to pray for a computer so that I could encourage others.  Yesterday, a friend GAVE me a refurbished computer!!  Again, I am left with the knowledge that God knows WHAT and WHEN is best.

I'm rambling...what has happened since I last wrote? Well.... Let's see...  we (as in my husband) took a lead pastor position, I became the administrator and 7th/8th grade teacher of a very small Christian school for a couple of years until....

...SURPRISE, SURPRISE....I discovered I was pregnant (after being told I couldn't have any more children)....with TWINS!!!  

A twin pregnancy in itself was enough to wear me out (I nearly lost my right kidney - the pain was ridiculous!), but God is good and we all survived intact minus a few brain cells...  The babies, identical twins named Mercy and Grace, were born on January 5th of 2016.  They were good size for being early (both over 5 lbs.), but they did have to stay in the NICU until they could keep their temperatures up.  They are the sweetest little things even if I happen to have torn ligaments due to carrying them both and their junk - a grand total of 50+ pounds.

I digress....

I will continue to talk about living naturally.  I have learned how to use essential oils, make kombucha, and started keeping chickens in the past 4 years. Oh, and, somehow, God answered prayers and allowed my husband to get on board with my healthy ideas....or at least most of them... ;)

I will be changing the blog up somewhat to include my 2 newest ventures (beside being a twin mama) - ladies ministry and my new home business (and did I mention that I will also be homeschooling my older 4 from now on...?).   Oh, yeah...there's plenty to cover.

Ladies Ministry --  For all of you who are involved with ministry in any way, I hope to encourage you and be encouraged by you.  This past April I was allowed to host my first ever ladies conference. It was AMAZING!  God allowed it to come together and fall into place the way HE wanted it to. I know it was the way HE wanted because of the way so much of it fell into place...and the way the devil fought!  It was proof enough that LADIES are of upmost importance to the spiritual well being of their families, and their churches.  I cannot wait to share more of this conference with you and a few of the details that we're planning for next year.  I can't share all because I don't want to ruin any surprises for those who are planning to attend in 2018.

As far as my new, in-home business....well, let me just say that I have found something that is working for me (finally!!!). I plan to share it with you - how easy it is, and how God has used it to help pay some bills and how it actually HELPS others live healthier and save money - and who wouldn't want to do either of those, right?  It's nice to think I can make money from home while helping people SAVE money!! 

Overall, God has been good.... all those trials I mentioned are covered with His grace and mercy..... I will mention some of them now and again when I feel that they might be helpful or encouraging, but for now, I want to think about and praise God for all of the blessings He has given (beside the fact that this post is way too long as it is!).

I do hope you will be encouraged by this blog and willing to rejoin us as we once again try to share the treasures that are found in living for God and searching His Word.  I pray this will be place of encouragement and inspiration for many.

Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy post, if indeed, you have lasted this long! :D

Saturday, January 31, 2015

My Favorite Outreach Tool

One of my favorite "tools" for our Lady's Inside-Out Reach is this fancy little card!

It can be used in so many ways!

We give them out with every basket, candy bar, and baby blanket!  Some of our ladies have even been known to go through a drive through, pay for the order placed by the car behind them in line, and ask the cashier in the window to give the driver of the car this card.

On the back of the card is the plan of salvation!  Not only are we being a blessing, we are giving the Gospel and inviting people to our church!  It's so much fun to come up with creative ways to use our cards!

If you have any creative ideas on how we could use these cards, please, feel free to list them in the comment section below, or on my Facebook page!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Encourage 5 Ladies with $11.00!

All you need:
  1. A dozen roses - I "happened" to have a coupon for these!
  2. 5 small vase-like objects.  :)  Be creative.  In this case I "happened" to find a few pink, jar drinking glasses that were on clearance for 49 cents each!  You could use anything, though.  Even a tin can wrapped in raffia might be cute.
  3. Some left over ribbon from the craft room
I divided the roses up into the different "vases" (because sometimes less is more).

There you have it...! 

You can be a blessing to FIVE different ladies for around $11.00!  That's only $2.20 for each.  I'd say that's a pretty good price, and well worth it! 

Have fun encouraging someone today!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Pivotal Moments

I LOVE being a pastor's wife!  The biggest, best part of my ministry is leading and helping in the Lady's Inside-Outreach Ministry.  We want our church to be known as the church that cares about people.

Any people.  All people.

In order to do that, it just makes since to reach people at those "pivotal" moments in life.

Pivotal moments are those life changing moments when you know life will never be the same again.  The death of a family member, the birth of a baby, a new marriage, or even re-locating are all "pivotal" in one way or another.  These are times when changes take place and decisions are made.  Sometimes people decide to "try out" church during these times.  And, if by chance, someone is considering church as an option, our church will be there with our hands out waiting to help!

The idea:
Different groups of ladies will be responsible to reach out to people at each "pivotal moment".  Each group will have a "team leader" and several other ladies under her, that will be able to help fulfill the responsibilities of that group. 

New Babies:  For instance, we are working on getting a group of ladies together that will be responsible for reaching all the families that have babies in our county. We will reach these families by providing baby hats and/or blankets made by the ladies in our church.  (And other creative ideas too!)  These blankets and hats will be taken to the nurse's station and dropped off to be given to these babies along with letters of invitation to our church.

New Move-Ins: For families that are moving to (or within) our community, we will be dropping off baskets of practical things you need when you're moving to a new home including local information (police department, fire department...) that might make life a little easier for them...and of coarse, an invitation to our church (and don't forget information about our bus ministry in case they should want to send their children).

Recent Deaths:  For those families in our community that are facing the death of a loved one, we will will be sending cards with our condolences, invitations to our church and Bible verses that will let them know they are not alone, and Heaven can be theirs! 

Weddings or New Marriages:  For newly married brides, well, we're still working on this one.  We have all kinds of ideas, but have yet to settle on any one thing.  (If any of my church ladies happen to be reading this, we still need a team leader for this group...hint...hint...)

The idea is simple.  Using a bit of time, creativity and the love of Christ, we reach out to those ladies in our community that need to know someone cares!

It's easy...because all of the jobs are broken down and everyone gets to decide in which group(s) she'd like to be involved.

It's fun...because we're all working together.  We get together for a "game night" or a "lady's night out" and we put a few baskets together while we're there!

It's low stress...because you only have to do the one thing you signed up for (make baby blankets, deliveries, send cards, bake cookies, knit scarves for shut ins).  What are you good at?  What do you enjoy?  We want you to use that God-given talent or interest to reach others!  Also, no one person is working alone!  You have a group of ladies that are working toward the same goal. 

It's inside-out...because our shut-ins can make hats and/or blankets for new born babies. They can send cards, pray, and even (in some cases) bake cookies!  They can teach our younger girls to knit and crochet.  Not only are they involved in ministry, but they are encouraged when someone stops by their house and visits with them for a while before taking the hats and blankets they've made to the local hospital.  We are hoping to use and encourage every lady inside our church while reaching out to all the ladies in our community! 

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