Making Hospitality Easy: 4 Tips for Hosting People in Your Home

20
Nov
2020

making hospitality easyWith Thanksgiving coming soon here for those in the U.S., I thought I would chat a bit about one of my most favorite topics—making hospitality easy.

When I mention the word hospitality, how do you respond? Do you get excited? Or perhaps you begin to feel a bit anxious and nervous?

My heart is to calm your nerves if you are the latter. The art of hospitality, the bringing together of friends in our home, is truly the heart of the gospel being played out in a real tangible way. I read this today, and it resonated with me deeply…

“Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by divining lines.” —Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life

Put simply, hospitality is the act of hosting people in your home, making time and space to create connection. Often it involves serving them a meal. The centerpiece of how Jesus shared the gospel was often around a table. It fills a human need for nourishment, and we can add so much to that experience by using our unique gifts. If you feel you aren’t good at hospitality, I encourage you to think again.

Let’s chat about a few really simple and practical ways to create a space that is inviting, yet not overwhelming, to those we invite in our home. I know your desire is to make others feel welcome in your home, that is all. Nothing more is needed.

Create a welcoming space

What brings you joy? What speaks to your heart? Your home should be an appendage of your heart. When friends walk in, they should be able to see you in all the spaces. This does not mean you need everything to be perfectly arranged and have expensive pieces decking your home. What it does mean is that your personality is reflected.

Having simple decor that does not clutter but is special to you is really a key piece. As I began furnishing my home last year (the one we’ve recently sold), I was very aware of choosing special things that were a part of me and really reflected who I was. A special painting that my good friend painted for me as a centerpiece. I chose small, decor pieces because they fit a need, not just create clutter. It doesn’t have to be a perfect space but should reflect who you are.

Simple is best

One of my biggest tips for those stepping out into hospitality is to have two or three simple and really good recipes or menus that you can use when you invite others over. This is key to having things run smoothly and also for you to be less stressed. I have found a good chili recipe with a wonderful gluten-free cornbread recipe to be one of our staple menus we pull out when we have others over. I also can make some roasted potatoes, roasted vegetables, and a simple protein like grilled salmon or chicken. There are several of my favorite hospitality recipes in my book, Got Dinner recipe book, where you will find 45 recipes that will make entertaining easy.

Diffuse

This tip is by far my favorite!!! Ever since I began using essential oils in my home, which is now nearly eight years ago, as soon as someone walks into my home they comment on how good it smells. I am so grateful! The calming ability of diffusing essential oils eases stress, but also just gives a feel-good feeling when you are smelling really yummy smells without any toxic residue. If you have a diffuser, be sure to check out these wonderful fall diffuser blends I shared; they will be perfect for your Thanksgiving gathering. We may be in a trailer now, but I have two diffusers, and we will be spending the day with my son and I will have diffusers going there as well. If you do not have oils yet, be sure to connect with me and I would be honored to help you get started.

Good conversation

Even as an introvert at heart, I can and do enjoy conversations with others. It’s true. The art of conversation is actually a skill you develop. I have spent time working on how to have engaging conversations with others over the past five years. People truly enjoy talking about themselves, so why not make sure you have some questions in your pocket to engage that conversation. I have enjoyed small gatherings of friends and acquaintances because I can ask questions about them and their life experiences. This truly helps me understand them, but also helps me feel connected. It’s such a joy for me now. I was once a person who struggled with conversations. Now I just keep asking questions about their family, their hobbies, their favorite things to do, and more.

Put these tips in your back pocket and you’ll be well equipped to foster a home filled with key pieces, making hospitality easy even at a moment’s notice.

Further reading for making hospitality easy

I have a few books that I have enjoyed on the topic of hospitality. If you’re interested in gaining more tips and inspiration, give these resources a look.

Living the RV Life: Selling it All to Travel Full Time

12
Nov
2020

Selling Everything to Travel Full-time: living the RV life

“Living the RV life? But why?” I’ve had a lot of questions about why our family would sell our recently completed, custom-built, ocean view home in Seabrook, WA, to go travel the U.S. full time in an Airstream, so I thought it was time to share.

Escaping the hustle and bustle of the city

Just over four years ago we left the Seattle suburbs, sold 80% of our personal belongings, and ventured to a remote beach community on the Washington Coast. People thought we were crazy then, but the process of escaping the big city, the hustle and bustle, to find a simple peace from small-town living was exactly what our family needed at the time.

We completed an amazing home, which was an experience in itself. I am forever grateful for the process of building our home from the ground up, as it truly helped shape me, develop a different connection with my husband, and certainly brought our family together in a way that otherwise would not have happened. Oh, and during that three-year process, we lived in 400 square feet, so small living is something we know all about.

The pursuit of living a full life

This year I think, has given us a chance to truly see what’s important in our lives, what truly matters, and that really, life is short and if you desire something, you better go out and find it. So that is what we are doing.

Back in early spring, I began having a sense that perhaps our time in this little town was coming to and end. I wasn’t sure really where we would go, but a friend of mine had been traveling around the country living the RV life for the past few months and I was intrigued. Now, let me say, just months prior, I was the one saying, “I could never do that.” But, it’s funny how things can change when you open your heart.

I brought the idea up to my hubby and we chatted. His job as an airline pilot allowed him to be flexible, meaning her could basically fly into work from anywhere,  and I work from home, so that gave us a sense of freedom. We began looking at logistics, touring some trailers, and digging into this idea to see if it was something we could make happen.

We prayed, we talked, we dreamed about where we would go. We watched YouTube channels (I highly recommend Keep Your DayDream) and we waited. When you proactively begin seeking for God to show up and lead you, you will see his kindness and how He opens doors. That is exactly what happened for us.

One of the biggest doors that opened for us was that my husband was given the chance to take a three-year leave from his job. Just…wow. We prayed and felt it was an answered prayer, which would lead us into taking the next steps to sell our home and then go full time on the road.

We had already determined we would be homeschooling our ten-year-old in the fall, so that issue had been resolved. So he applied for the leave and was awarded it. We adjusted our family budget and determined it was time to sell our home.

Reality is setting in

Now, our home, Coastal Haven, is incredibly special to us. Not just because we determined each unique feature in the home, picked all the knobs, handles, windows, finishes—all of it, but because the home sits with an incredible view of the Pacific Ocean, among other things. To say we are emotionally attached to the home is likely an understatement, but when you know in your heart the time has come to allow another family to take over the space, well…you just know. It doesn’t make it easier, but you just have a peace that passes anything you can describe. We listed our home, and it sold in perfect timing. We took delivery of our Airstream almost two weeks ago and are a bit nervous, but in a good way.

I have come to realize with downsizing for the second time in less than five years that a home is special. The things in it are nice, but really, when all is said and done, it’s experiences you cherish the rest of your life. I want to live my life full right now. That is one thing I said to my husband when we were considering this new adventure. We have the ability right now to do this. We have the freedom of time; I can work from anywhere…what more do we need? In fact, I will get to see many of the people I chat with online every single day in my oily community—in person! I am thrilled about that. If there is one thing my heart has been missing, it is the loveliness of people.

So here we are. As I write this, I took my last walk around our beach town this morning. I didn’t cry; I just enjoyed the walk and wanted to etch it in my memory. Now I am packing up the last few things to take out of our home, as we leave in the morning and another family will call it theirs. We met them on Sunday, and they are so excited for their next chapter, and I am thrilled for them. You see, when you have something special and can share it with another, it truly does bring more joy to everyone.

Having faith as we embark on a new future

We have said we will travel for a year and decide what our next step is. I think we will build again, not sure exactly where, but we don’t have to figure it out right now. We can just think about what we are doing tomorrow, and the next day, and that is a beautiful thing.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram to watch our adventures living the RV life. I will do posts here on the blog occasionally, but consistent sharing will be done there.  For those praying for us, I will forever be grateful.

Grieving Losses Other Than Death

7
Nov
2020

Grieving losses other than death The topic of grief has been on my heart for several months. For many of us, including myself, we typically only think of grief with losing someone we love. But all of us at one time or another find ourselves grieving losses other than death. I believe that as a society, we typically do not give merit to the other places grief can show up.

Loss comes in the form of death, but also making a move, selling a home, losing a friendship or relationship with a family member, and one which has been completely overlooked the past six months—the loss of normal routines and connections.

You are likely in a season of grief right now. Have you considered that?

Regardless of the type of loss you’ve experienced, your grief is real.

Right now, in my season for example, I am grieving losses other than death. I am struggling with grief over selling a home we built with all our heart and soul (more on that and why we have chosen to do that in another post), moving from the small town we’ve been blessed to be a part of for over four years, launching into a season of uncertainty, being isolated from friends and family during this pandemic, grieving the inability to proceed with vacation plans we made, and having any sense of control and ability to dream and plan, and the one big one for me is a disintegration of a relationship with a close family member without knowing exactly why.

What we often don’t realize is that grief is not always about death. Grief is about loss, and that loss comes in many forms, death being just one of them.

My heart has been tender for so many months, and I am sure if you sat down and thought about your situation and what has been happening, you could come up with a list as well. Grief often brings along varied feelings that may be difficult or confusing for you. Some of the most common reactions to loss are:

  • Feelings of loneliness and isolation. A desire to be alone or an inability to converse with or reach out to friends and loved ones.
  • Loss of control of your thoughts and feelings. Feeling like you’re “going crazy.”
  • Difficulty concentrating, numbness.
  • Guilt, remorse, or constant anxiety over what you could have done differently.
  • Anxiety and fear.
  • Irritability, frustration, and anger at yourself, someone else, or the situation at hand.
  • Listlessness, lethargy, and general exhaustion.

Any of those sound familiar?

When you’ve experienced loss and you feel any of the above, it’s important to realize that this is a normal reaction to grief. While many are looking for a “quick fix” or a way in which to accelerate the grieving process, it’s important to remember that grief is as unique as the individuals who experience it. It can’t always be rushed, and it’s critical that you’re kind with yourself as some days will inevitably be better than others.

My desire is to help bring some relief, some acknowledgment that it is okay to not be okay. When we recognize issues, we can then begin to nourish those areas to bring healing. The way in which you cope with your grief makes a world of difference. Letting yourself feel the grief is critical, because grief needs an outlet, however painful. I am seeing that now, that I will often just begin crying and cannot explain it. My typical “put-together” self will begin to be irritated with myself because I am feeling and expressing myself, but I am learning to allow the process to flow in order to bring healing.

I have been focusing on a few things that I hope will help you as you nourish your soul and bring healing.

Proper nutrition

Grief takes its toll on the body, depriving you of energy and strength. Now is the time to eat whole, nutritious foods that will help keep your body strong while you heal. Treat your body good.

Nurturing sleep

Grief and sleeplessness go hand in hand. I have experienced this like never before in the last six months. However, your body—and mind—heal during sleep, so all those sleepless hours can really exacerbate suffering. I have been using natural methods to help by mind wind down and release anxiety, some of which I shared in this post.

Rest and relaxation

Lethargy can be part of grieving, but allowing yourself to relax does not mean wallowing in bed all day. (Okay, I may have done that a time or two.) It means allowing yourself to feel pampered or indulged; it means having grace with ourselves. You can take it one step further and find ways to truly nurture yourself—like getting a massage, reading a good book, journaling, listening to the waves crash on the beach, or sitting with headphones on listening to worship music.

Find your tribe

I am grateful for a small group of friends who will gather around and listen, pray for me, and help me feel valued. I am not able to do this in person unfortunately, but we have used Marco Polo, a wonderful app that connects us together. If I hadn’t had a group of friends to walk this journey with, I would have crumbled. This is something we need to seek out, building relationships is hard work; however, it is so worth it!

Professional help

Sometimes grief can feel too big to bear on our own, and that is okay. Seeking help from a qualified professional is the best way to begin dealing with your grief in a productive manner. I urge you, if you are needing to talk to someone, seek out a Christian counselor via recommendations from friends or a local church in your area.

Don’t ever feel silly or downplay your feelings when you find yourself grieving losses other than death. Acknowledge it, and do what you need to do to promote healing for your heart.

Self-Care: Giving Yourself Permission

28
Oct
2020

One of the biggest pain points that comes into the conversation when I coach moms is the lack of time for self-care. I have written in the past about the benefits of being a selfish mom, and it’s a tongue-in-cheek post, but the message is clear. Most moms are so busy taking care of everyone else that they don’t care for themselves and then become worn down, bitter, and oftentimes very ill from being exhausted.

There is nothing that says you love your role as a mom most than to find time to nurture you. You will be a better mom, wife, friend, and your body will thank you.

When was the last time you did something for you?
What did you do?
How did it affect your day or your week?

I want you to really think about these questions. If you had trouble answering them, it’s time to stop the train and fix the problem. Your family needs you to show up as your best self, and constantly running on empty will not produce the best version of you.

Here are a few ideas in ways you can nourish your spirit and show up for you. Some are short and not very time consuming and some need a bit more planning. I urge you to plan, ask for help, and delegate some things so you can carve out space to nourish your soul and take in some self-care.

Get outside and take a walk—alone

This is one simple and no-cost option for those needing to tend to their self-care. This is not a spa day (however those are nice!), but to be honest, they are not in reach for most families right now. So what can you do in small increments of time? Be aware of your surroundings and be proactive.

Devotion and prayer

I begin every morning with a quiet time of devotions and prayer. I URGE you…make this a habit. When you provide that space for God to calm your heart and speak truth into your soul, your entire day is better. Believe me, I have had the days from h*ll when I have not taken the time to sit with God. Please…get the YouVersion bible app so you can easily access the bible, reading plans, and scripture.

Unplug from your electronic devices

Oh, yes, I said that!!! Even me, one who runs two business with a big influence on social media. I unplug. It’s critical to keep myself sane. Especially right now—so much ugliness on social media. Take an afternoon or an entire day and leave your phone alone. This can be hard at first, but you will begin to enjoy this time!

Meet a friend

There is nothing like meeting a friend for coffee and sharing our hearts. Now, remember, these do not have to be in-person gatherings, but I much prefer that! However, I do have a sweet friend from years ago and we’ve recently reconnected. She lives across the country, so we’ve taken to using Facebook video messenger to sit and have a chat every few weeks. I block this out on my calendar just like any other important appointment. It’s nurturing to me, brings life to bones, and warms my heart so much. Who can you make a friendship date with this week? Maybe they need some self-care time too!

Meditate

This is something I was not really a fan of nor really practiced until about a year ago. It’s a wonderful way to calm my mind and refocus. I have used the Calm app, which you can get for free for seven days, or I find meditations on YouTube. This one, Inheritance by Graham Cooke…it’s not a traditional meditation, but it fills my tired heart something fierce. I will lay down, close my eyes, and let the words go into every nook and cranny of my body. Take a listen today (I keep the link to this video in my notes section in my phone so I can listen any chance I get!).

Play worship music

Do you play worship music in your home? Do you know music carries a vibrational frequency that can help your emotional well-being? It’s true. Worship music is some of the best music you can play to help create a positive mindset. Here is a video by Dr. Masaru Emoto showing how different music can impact our bodies and our well-being because our bodies are 80% water. Go take a look; it’s fascinating! Worship music speaks of love—which carries a high frequency. When you listen and that fills your home, it’s amazing how the presence of calm can be felt. Try it!

Aromatherapy

I would be amiss to not mention how using essential oils can help you with self-care for your body, especially from a spiritual standpoint. Diffusing essential oils like Frankincense, Lavender, Cedarwood, and Blue Spruce can dramatically help your mood and energy levels. When you inhale oils, they enter the limbic part of the brain, which is the part that holds and stores emotions. If you aren’t familiar, there is real evidence that shows that inhaling and applying oils topically can help you destress, relax, and improve moods naturally. They are life-giving to me!

I hope you found some new ways to nurture yourself in this season.

Simple Real Food Weeknight Dinner Recipes

22
Oct
2020

This week I have a simple and easy menu plan full of real food weeknight dinner recipes. I have some tips and tricks to let you work less and enjoy some really tasty food that is both nutritious and yummy.

For Monday, I want you to grab TWO pasture-raised chickens. You will cook TWO today in your Instant Pot, one for the meal this evening, and one for Tuesday’s meal.

Monday

Instant Pot Rotisseries Chicken from Kristine’s Kitchen

Garlic-Roasted Herb Potatoes, Carrots, and Green Beans from Cooking Classy

Instant Pot Rotisseries Chicken, a perfect weeknight dinner recipe

These two recipes will be perfect for a hearty and tasty dinner. I love roasting fresh vegetables in the oven. Remember, salt, pepper, and spices are your best friend. Always use REAL salt; it’s so good for your body!

Cook one of your chickens in the early afternoon, then let the pressure release; remove the chicken to cool. You can then start your other chicken you will serve for dinner. Once your first chicken cools, you will need to remove the meat and store to use in tomorrow’s recipe. Save the carcass, as you will be making your bone broth with this carcass and the one from the other chicken.

Once you’ve served dinner, take any remaining chicken and store with the previous meat, and take both carcasses and place them in the Instant Pot. You can follow this recipe here, or I often just use some spices, lemon slices, garlic and onions, and cook. Have fun; use what you like and experiment. Strain your bone broth and save for tomorrow. I often will let the bone broth go overnight and then release it in the morning.

Tuesday

Chicken Vegetable Soup from Detoxinista

Try this real food chicken vegetable soup for dinner

Serve with your favorite wholesome sprouted wheat bread, rolls, or gluten-free bread.

This soup recipe is so good, and I will encourage you to have fun with it. Add more of certain vegetables, and if you have enough ingredients, be sure to make a double or triple batch! Then you can freeze a portion to have in a few weeks when you are rushed for dinner one day. I love doubling recipes to make more for a later time.

Wednesday

Best Sheet Pan Fajitas With Steak from 40 Aprons

 Sheet Pan Fajitas With Steak, a real food treat

This recipe will be a hit and it’s so easy. I love sheet cooking in the oven—makes for easy prep and also cleanup! You can easily chop the veggies the night before and place in a baggie, and then if you have a busy day or are returning from work, simply dump it all on the sheet, along with the sliced steak. Tip: Use parchment paper any time you are using pans in your oven; the cleanup is simple and it’s less toxic than aluminum foil.

Serve this with some premade refried beans, or black beans made in your Instant Pot. Grab some organic corn tortillas, sprouted wheat tortillas, or use lettuce wraps! If you are looking for a great place to buy some organic pantry supplies, I highly recommend Thrive Market. I typically place two or three orders monthly for things like tortillas, beans, salsa (this is one of our favorites), and gluten-free products. It makes my life so much easier. You can grab 25% off your first order when you use my referral link.

Thursday

Egg Roll in a Bowl With Creamy Chili Sauce from 40 Aprons

Egg Roll in a Bowl With Creamy Chili Sauce family weeknight dinner recipe

I love this recipe because it is so versatile!!! You can stick to the recipe or venture out and add some fun ingredients in the suggestions to help your family love this even more. I use ground chicken, or you can even use leftover chicken from Monday (if you have any left after your soup!).

Friday

Homemade Vegetarian Chili from Cookie and Kate

Gluten-Free Cornbread

Homemade vegetarian chili real food recipe

Perfect for a Friday night—for real!!! If you can start this in the morning and let it simmer all day in a Crockpot or on the stove, you will love it even more. If you need to skip the blender part of the recipe, no worries. It will still be so yummy!

So there you go! Save this post or pin it to your recipe board so you can easily find the links. Your family will enjoy some tasty meals for the week and maybe even have some leftovers for the weekend!

If you are needing more real food weeknight dinner recipes for your family that are simple and easy, check out my Got Dinner, Quick and Easy Recipes with over 45 of my favorites; it’s only $2.99!