Friday, December 3, 2010

December Break - and Your Valuable Input!

from Carrie (and the whole staff)

The staff here at Offering Hospitality have taken a vote and unanimously agreed that we should take the month of December off from posting.

We decided to do this for a couple of reasons:

1. We just need a break!
2. The holiday season keep all of us (and all of you!) quite occupied as it is!
3. We'd like to take a month to plan our next steps around these parts so that we can come back with a fresh load of ideas and thoughts come January.

Basically - it has to do with vision. And sometimes you just need to breathe and pray and talk in order to pursue it properly. (Although perhaps not necessarily in that particular order!)

We already know of a few changes that will come into play after the first of the year but we're going to take a month to discuss and plan.

In the meantime, we would find it enormously helpful if you would consider taking some time to think about the following questions and leaving a comment (or dropping an e-mail!) as to your thoughts/advice/opinions.

Writing for Offering Hospitality is admittedly quite a bit of work. Any feedback you are willing to offer would be gratefully received.

Things we would like to know:

  1. What have you found most helpful?
  2. What have you found least helpful?
  3. What would you like to see more of?
  4. Is there one change you would particularly recommend for this site?

Thank you for your time, your readership, your comments and the way you obviously desire to live out a life in which you offer hospitality on a regular basis. We are thankful for you and wish you a very merry and very blessed Christmas season!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Recipe Swap: Cookie Exchange!

Hi Ladies! This month we'd like to share our favorite holiday cookie recipes. What is that family favorite that is a staple to any holiday gathering? For the past few years I have been making these holiday classics!

Classic Spritz Cookies

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) butter (3 sticks), softened
1 cup (250 mL) sugar
1 egg
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups (875 mL) all-purpose flour

Colored sugar or sprinkles (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). In large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar on medium speed of electric mixer about 3 minutes or until creamy, scraping down sides as necessary. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Add flour; mix on low speed just until blended, scraping down sides as necessary. (Dough will be soft; do not refrigerate.)
  2. Fit Cookie Press with desired disk ; fill with dough. Press dough onto Cookie Sheet 1 in. (2.5 cm) apart. Decorate cookies with colored sugar or sprinkles, if desired. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool cookies 2 minutes on Cookie Sheet; remove to cooling rack. Repeat with remaining dough.

These cookies get a real retro look when colored with the neon food coloring available in most stores. The creamy color of the dough gives the cookies the muted neons that are reminiscent of the 1950's era!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Giving Thanks

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with Psalms. - Ps 95:2

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good.- Ps 100:4-5a

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Phil 4:6

We wish you and yours a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving Week!!!
~ The Offering Hospitality Staff

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Easy Hospitality :: Movie Nights

by Carrie

This holiday season my husband and I were interested in finding a few fun ways to host friends during this rather busy time of year. We know that there are so many activities available and parties to attend, but we wanted to make sure we provided an option for ourselves and for our friends as to how we might keep touch during this upcoming Christmas season.

Coupled with the fact that we are now expecting a new family member this spring (yup, I'm following the way of half of the Offering Hospitality staff and am pregnant!) we also knew that we wanted to come up with something a bit more low key that wouldn't demand so much of our energy.

In the end, we decided to host a series of Holiday Movie Nights. Here's what we did:

  • We selected an assortment of dates for our movie nights;
  • We choose family friendly films that families wouldn't worry about coming over to our house to view together;
  • We sent out an e-mail inviting our friends to join us for any or all of the selected dates;
  • We said that snacks would be provided; and
  • We set the time frame for evenings when we knew we wouldn't be as busy the next day so that we could rest and recover.

At the time of this posting, our movie nights are underway and it's been a great experience. For one, we had one family that we weren't familiar with so we invited them to join us for dinner before hand and had a fabulous time getting to know them! The next one promises to include several families which will provide some variety and a different sort of fun.

Think about it - a lot of people watch the same Christmas classics year after year. (I know I do!) Why not watch them all together and make a little party out of it? Not very much preparation is needed and the entertainment is provided! We invite people to come over about half an hour before the movie begins so that we can chat a little and basically just work to stay in touch with others during a time when we might not otherwise make a connection.

For us, this system is working very well. It doesn't demand too much of me right now and it allows us to have our friends over. We are able to enjoy our favorite Christmas movies and it give me an excuse to bake sugary treats that I know will be consumed by others and not just myself! This year this is turning out to be a win-win situation for us. We never see the same faces, nor did we expect to. It's just something a little different we decided to try this year.

Furthermore, the response has been quite favorable - precisely because everyone is busy but taking some time out to watch your favorite Christmas movie is something most people do anyway.

I'm glad we decided to do this this year. I'm not sure if we'll make a regular habit out of it, but for this season in life, (i.e., pregnancy and planned events), taking some down time with friends was important to us and it gives us something to look forward to every few weeks.

What about you? Do you have any holiday tips or tricks as to how you are managing to keep in touch with friends during the Christmas season? I'd really love to hear them if you do! I hope you'll consider sharing with us in the comment section below or in an e-mail.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Women's Ministry in the Local Church: Chapter 9 Discussion (Scripture)

by Carrie

This is the last chapter in the book Women's Ministry in the Local Church. Next week we will wrap up our discussion with a conclusion post and after that we'll have a few new announcements to make.

In the meantime, I really hope that you have come to see a least a little value in discussing this book. I want to turn this chapter's discussion back to our main theme around these parts - hospitality.

In Chapter 9 of Women's Ministry in the Local Church, the focus again returns to scripture as the argument as to why it is important to have a women's ministry within the church. I would say that this chapter also has a heavy emphasis on the idea of discipleship, which is a subject that Stephanie discussed and highlighted last week.

Boiled down, the main idea is that in order for women to have a proper Biblical view of their position and roles within their homes and their churches (i.e., the Body of Christ) their worldview needs to be Biblically and scripturally accurate. A women's ministry needs to primarily focus on the Titus 2 model given in scripture.

"You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." Titus 2:1-5
Women need to be taught sound doctrine so that they will not be weakened by the culture or the world around them. The church leadership should be concerned about making sure the women are taught and instructed the Bible in an accurate manner. The older women should disciple the younger in both truth and practical application. In this way, the younger women are learning how to be keepers of their home, support systems to their husbands, pillars of strength to their family and to their church. In other words, life begets life and an older woman living out these principles before a younger women, and taking the time to invest in a younger women's life does so for the glory of God and the mutual benefit of believers.

Taking this to hospitality, we must learn how to practice it in a scripturally accurate manner. First, tending to our homes. As women, submitting to our authority figures (i.e., husbands and church leadership.) We should be seeking to bring life to the Body of Christ, to build it up and not tear it apart through slander, laziness or passivity. We have a unique role to play and it behooves us to apply ourselves to learning sound doctrine and living that out within the Body. And yes, one of those ways is by offering and extending hospitality to others, which is a Biblical command.

I'm going to end with a quote and exhortation from Hunt on this topic and would be curious to hear what you have to say and share from there.

"Churches are filled with women who have traded their birthright as corner pillars to engage in a prideful pursuit of knowledge. They have stopped short of true discipleship that moves from knowledge to wisdom - the application of truth into life. They have perfected some Bible study skills, but they do not know how to live as godly, chaste single women, or love their husbands, or care for the sick and oppressed, or support the male leadership of the church. They are often critical of the men in the church. They have selfish hearts rather than servant hearts. They have not been taught all that Jesus commanded in His Word about their design and calling. They need to grow up. They desperately need an apprenticeship with mature Christian women who will train them in the craft of womanhood." (page 140-141)
We can do better. We must do better if we long to be all that God designed and meant for us to be - both in the area of hospitality and in our daily spiritual walk.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thanksgiving Craft Ideas

Here are some great craft, recipe and decor ideas from around the web to get you in the Thanksgiving spirit! Enjoy!

-Parents Magazine has a great article called " Lets Give Thanks" that features an appreciation journal, thank bank as well as other kid friendly crafts.
-Family Fun Magazine has lots of kids crafts and recipes to get your little ones involved in, as well as some yummy Creative Cranberry Recipes to add to your dinner menu.
-Christian Preschool Printables has lots of Christian Thanksgiving themed crafts and coloring pages, so does
-For beautiful table settings check out Martha Stewart's ideas here.
-Country Living's former editor shares here families Thanksgiving celebrations over on their site.

Sometimes I just love looking at other's ideas to inspire me and I hope you do too.

Some of these crafts make great gifts for showing our gratitude all year long. Do you know of some great crafts out there on the web or have you blogged about something you've made? Post a link in a comment below!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Women's Ministry in the Local Church: Ch. 8 Discipleship

"Biblical discipleship is not simply imparting facts or inculcating personal habits of Bible study, prayer and evangelism, as helpful as those disciplines are.  It is transmitting a way of thinking and living that unites all the parts into the glorious whole of glorifying God.  It is passing on a legacy of biblical faith and life to the next generation." (p. 123)
I love how Hunt and Duncan define biblical discipleship in this chapter!  I am reminded of a quote from chapter 4, "How can I think biblically about womanhood when I am constantly told to pursue my own dreams, to be true to myself, and to seek my own fulfillment?" (page 59)

The answer to that young woman's question is biblical discipleship.  It's older women taking the time and energy to invest in the lives of younger women.  Yes, it requires a healthy pulpit ministry and Bible studies but it goes much further than that.  It's women sharing Bible-based life together in formal and casual ways.

Titus 2:3-5 (the text used for this chapter) gives us an outline for what this type of discipleship includes, "Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine.  They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled."

I think the area of discipleship is where we most see the application of this book to hospitality. For example, if I am hosting a young woman in my home for lunch and one of my children chooses to hit his brother, my responses to the situation will "transmit a way of thinking and living" both to my children and to my guest.  It's discipleship in action.

I'm sure we can all agree that "Titus 2" discipleship is needed, but do we practice it?  What are some ways we can intentionally disciple the younger women in our lives?  Have you experienced "Titus 2" discipleship? 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Holiday Favorites Recipe Swap

It's that time again ladies! Recipe swap time! This month we want to know what your favorite holiday dish is. Do you make an amazing turkey? Or maybe there is a go to dish that you always bring to the holiday table? Blog about it and post your link in the comments below.

My favorite holiday dish is kind of new to our family. I found the recipe last year just before Thanksgiving and knew I had to try it out!

Farm Chicks Sweet Potato Bake

1 29 ounce can sweet potatoes, drained and coarsely mashed
1/4 butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Pecan Topping:
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine topping ingredients together in a small mixing bowl until mixture is combined and crumbly. Set aside. In another bowl, combine filling ingredients and stir until well combined. Scoop into a small casserole pan and top with pecan topping. Bake for 30 minutes or until topping is browned and bubbly. Makes 12 servings.
Tip: You can always substitute fresh-cooked sweet potatoes for the canned. 4-5 sweet potatoes should be used.

My house is a nut free home, so when I bake this I substitute mini marshmallows for the pecan topping and put them on top for the last 10 minutes or so.

I have never liked sweet potatoes before this yummy dish. Might have something to do with the mass amounts of sugar, but it's still delicious. And no one should worry about dieting during the holidays, right? :-)


For more great recipes check out the Farm Chicks Blog, Serena has lots of great seasonal and homestyle goodies. Just click the "recipe" tab on the right of the page.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Women's Ministry in the Local Church: Chapter 7 Discussion (Community)

by Melissa at Breath of Life

My husband & I have been a part of our church family for 15 years. They are the people who have loved us through hard times, celebrated the birth of our daughter, and grieved the illness and death of my father-in-law. They have been constant. We have learned what community is all about through our church family. My life has echoed the quote included at the beginning of Chapter 7, Community, “ the church when the multitude is gathered together, a fire is kindled in my heart and it breaks its way through.” (Martin Luther)

In this chapter, Hunt & Duncan walk us through the effect a thriving women’s ministry can have on a church’s sense of community. We are charged to care for our fellow church members. Community is vital for a church to grow. “Nurturing community life in a congregation is much like developing family life in the home. We must spend time together. We must get to know one another. We must share a common life.” (pg. 109) How does it start? With women. A successful women’s ministry will teach the idea of covenant, will incorporate celebrations, give women a chance to share their stories, encourage members of the body, and give members a sense of being part of the fold.

As I read, I was reminded that the author of Hebrews tells us to consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together (Heb. 10:24-25, ESV). Church shouldn’t be about how wonderful the choir sounds, how new the building is, or even how dynamic the preaching is (although it must be Biblical!). I can stay home and watch some pretty great preaching on television, but if I limit my church experience to doing just that, I’m missing out.

Hunt & Duncan give excellent practical ideas that will grow a church family closer together, and that focus on people rather than programs. Any social organization can have events that entertain, and perhaps even meet some needs, but the church is to be set apart in its mission. We are to serve and glorify God, not ourselves.

In his book Dug Down Deep, Joshua Harris gives an analogy that has caused me to understand and appreciate the role of my church in my life. Harris says he used to imagine that life was a bus ride, and church was the stop at the gas station to get fueled up and ready to get through the next part of the journey. Now he realizes that church is the ride itself - it’s the people we do life with. Community.

I’m completely in love with my church family, from the toothless , grinning babies to the wise silver-haired seniors. I haven’t always appreciated this blessing, but I’m determined not to take it for granted. What about you? Is your church family a true family?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hospitality and Children: Preparing for Thanksgiving

from Carrie

We're about a month out from Thanksgiving and so there is really no better time than the present to poke around the internet and find some new and creative ideas of fun ways to celebrate the holidays with the little people in our lives.

Here are some online articles, tips, and resources you might want to make use of in the following month:

Make a Thanksgiving Tree! This project can be as simple or complex as you like! This is an easy, fun and visual way to remind kids of how very blessed that they are. (It's also a pretty good reminder for the parents.) I think we'll be making this tree in our home this year!

Learn a new hymn over the course of the next month to praise God for his faithfulness and goodness to you and your family. You can sing this song as part of your family devotionals, or as you are tucking the kids into bed at night, or around the dinner table! Praising God through song is a wonderful way to worship and fellowship with one another. One hymn that my husband has been teaching our boys of late is Let All Things Now Living (linked to the lyrics.) Here is a Youtube version if you aren't familiar with this beautiful melody. (Lyrics are also included in the video.)

Here is a practical and short little article on Celebrating Thanksgiving With Kids.

One last suggested resource is a relatively new title from Moody Press entitled Growing Grateful Kids: Teaching Them to Appreciate an Extraordinary God in Ordinary Places.

I haven't read this book myself but it's on my Amazon wish list and I'm looking forward to having an opportunity to read it. Have any of you read it and do you have an opinion you can share with us about it?

Or, perhaps, you need a little "Gratitude Pick Me Up" yourself!? Then please let me recommend Nancy DeMoss's Choosing Gratitude. I've linked it up to my review over at Reading to Know and would heartily encourage you to consider this read for yourselves. (Just click on the title to read my earlier thought on this book.) It is my goal to revisit this title myself during these fall months.

Do you have any online resources you can point us to, to share how you are planning to celebrate this upcoming holiday with your kids or grandkids? Now is the time to share them with us!

Also, if you have a blog post that you have written up on your blog discussing this topic, leave us a link! We'd really love to hear what you will be doing to help instill a heart of gratefulness in your children during this special time of year.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hospitality to Strangers

by Crystal

"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:2

As the Bible states in Hebrews 13:2, we are called to show hospitality to strangers. But how do we do this in today's society and still keep our families safe?

Here are a few suggestions I have come across that are especially important during the holiday season where you can minister either outside your home or anonymously in some cases.

* Volunteer at a shelter, soup kitchen or the local food bank.

* Arrange to provide a holiday meal for your local firefighters, police officers or other emergency workers who don't get holidays off.

* Participate in a gift ministry such as the Salvation Army or Angel Tree.

* Invite some single people from church or work who have no family around over to share your families holiday meal.

Remember, hospitality is not just having people over for dinner. It is simply showing the love of Christ through any act of service. My special charge for each of our readers today is to participate in a hospitality to strangers ministry this season. My family and I have been the recipients from some of these ministries and I cannot express how blessed we felt all from the kindness and love of someone we've never met and I am always eager to give back when I can.

Maybe some of you already are a part of this kind of ministry? Would you care to tell us about it? Leave a short comment below or send us an email to be featured in a later post.

Quick note re: Women's Ministry in the Local Church Discussion

Note from Carrie

Just a brief FYI - we will continue on with our discussion of Chapter 7 in Women's Ministry in the Local Church next week. (Just a brief hiatus in our usual schedule! We will still wrap this book discussion up before Thanksgiving.)

Again, I would encourage you to consider this book and this discussion in terms of hospitality. How's that? Well, which gender usually works out hospitality within the church? Typically we see the females doing this and so we here at Offering Hospitality feel like it's worth some consideration to see how our hearts need to be set and focused as we pursue Biblical Hospitality. Yes, this book focuses on life in the church but if you are reading this site at all, the chances are you care about hospitality which is one thing that is desperately needed in the church today. Consider how you might practice it, not only in your own homes but how you might be of useful service in your church as well.

If you would like to catch up on past chapters, click on any of the following links.

Chapter 2 - The Need for Women's Ministry
Chapter 3 - The Motive Behind Ministry
Chapter 4 - Five Principles for an Organized Ministry
Chapter 5 - Submission
Chapter 6 - Compassion in Ministry

In the meantime, stay tuned today for a post by Crystal with some suggestions on how you might offer hospitality to strangers over this coming holiday season!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Women's Ministry in the Local Church: Chapter 6 Discussion

Written by Ronnica at Ignorant Historian

Week by week, we've been walking through Women's Ministry in the Local Church by J. Ligon Duncan and Susan Hunt. This week we're on chapter 6, "1 Timothy 3:11--Compassion."

1 Timothy 3:11 says, "Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things." This is the NASU translation. Your translation may say "their wives" instead, as the word is the same in the Greek. It doesn't matter if Paul specifically is referring to the deacon's wives or to all women in the church; we should all aspire to these things, regardless of our position in the church.

I think most churches are good at exercising compassion materially towards others in the church (at least in some regards), and it's usually the women leading the way. It's often easier to focus on the physical needs than the spiritual, but both are crucial. We shouldn't balk when someone struggles go beyond needing someone to watch their kids or prepare a meal for them. And this compassionate care shouldn't stop at the church's doors...we should be seeking ways to love those who are hurting in our communities.

In this chapter Susan Hunt makes some great points. First, I love that she reminds us that we need to be in submission to God and our church elders even when we're seeking to do good. Our intentions may be good, but "the right thing done the wrong way is not right" (p. 89). Another point she makes is that we need to remind ourselves that we aren't exercising compassion because it will gain favor from God. While we should seek to please God, we aren't working to make God love us more.

I know I don't do enough to show compassion to others. Sometimes there just doesn't seem time and energy...but that shouldn't always be the reason to say, "no." Susan Hunt puts it well: "Caring for hurting people will always require more strength and grace than we possess" (p. 93).

Given all the needs we see everyday, how do you decide which needs to meet? Do you struggle with showing compassion?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Food Ministry at Church (guest post)

This is from Kathy, one of our regular readers here at Offering Hospitality


I've been Meals Coordinator (at a number of churches) for families' needs: this might be after a baby is born, when there is significant illness, just before or after a funeral or a family move, for a chronic situation (such as ongoing medical crisis), etc. I developed a brief written questionnaire, asking them to fill this out in advance, when possible (new baby coming). I kept a file on each family we served, having asked these questions:

1) General part of town you live in (to minimize, when possible, the cooks having to drive from the far SW side of town, thru traffic, to the far NE side of town ...) This general area (and any unusual food needs, such as gluten free) is posted in the request for volunteer cooks, so they can calculate if they can do this.
a) address -- including landmarks and color of house;
b) Home and cell phone numbers; which one is better to use?
c) Email address (optional), IF checked daily

2) Food preferences are huge. I did a mini interview with the family, to assess these points:
a) Food allergies -- SPECIFICALLY ask about nuts, dairy, wheat, eggs
b) Absolute hates -- ("kiddos won't eat any green veggie"; spicy foods)
c) Special diet: Vegetarian, gluten-free; low fat, low salt, low carb, diabetic; sugar free, no desserts desired ...
d) Do you like ethnic foods, such as Asian, Italian, Hispanic, mid-eastern? (Which ones yes or no.)
e) Do you eat pork products? This includes pork, ham (ham& bean dishes), bacon (including in salads), BBQ pork, and for some folk, jello (gelatin).
f) Do you enjoy fish -- grilled or baked real fish; tuna casserole; fish stew?

3) Time you'd prefer food to be delivered, understanding that this timing might not be possible for the cook. Do you want the cook to call right before s/he comes?

4) How many adults and children will be eating? How old are the kids? (15 y/o boys eat much more than 4 y/o girls!)

5) Do you prefer all disposable containers, or will you wash and return the containers?

Instructions to the cooks:

1) Make contact with the family at least 24 hrs before it is your turn to bring food. Conditions may have changed; they may have more than enough food for tomorrow (since so many people tend to be very generous with portion sizes.)

2) Clearly label with your name and phone number any non-disposable containers and their lids. If you include a bag with your name on it to return them in, the family can just set the bag on the front porch for easy pick-up, if desired.

3) Don't insist on seeing the new baby -- mom might not feel up to it! But if you ARE allowed in, make it a very brief (5 minute) visit, unless mom invites you to stay longer.
Final suggestions:

1) Because the new baby's grandma might come to help after the birth, assess whether or not the family wants food brought in while grandma is here, or, would they prefer meals after grandma leaves?

2) Because so many cooks are very generous, you might want meals only every other day. In between, the family can eat leftovers. Otherwise, the food tends to pile up in the fridge.

3) If food is for a crowd right after the funeral, would the family like church people to come in to set up while the family is at the funeral? (to Meals Coordinator: would there be enough volunteers to even offer this service?


I think you ladies will agree that this is a great list of practical tips, suggestions and questions we can ask when we are coordinating meals for another! Thanks, Kathy, for sharing your approach to helping serve others in the church through a food ministry!

Any tips or tricks any of you would add to this? Please feel free to share in the comments!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Women's Ministry in the Local Church: Chapter 5 Discussion

written by Carrie

Ah ha. I have the fun chapter to discuss this week.



As I mentioned in the introduction, Hunt and Duncan favor a complimentarian view of women and men, striving towards upholding a Biblical view of the roles that each sex plays. Women are not subservient to men, but they do have different skills and talents which they can use to compliment the men. Chapter 5's discussion is more of the same.

Hunt makes two particular points that I'd like to focus on, and I'd like to bring this back to what this means when it comes to offering hospitality in our own homes, in a partnership with our husbands.

#1 - "A woman's ministry should be a quiet-spirited ministry that causes no disturbance in the male leadership." (page 72)

#2 - ". . . [S]ubmission in marriage and submission in the church cannot be separated. If a woman does not submit in her marriage, she will bring that rebellious attitude into the church. A leader of women, including single women, must have respect for and commitment to God's kingdom order in the home and church." (page 75)

To this I would merely add, (without arguing over the definition of submission, as I think I'd just refer back to the Danvers statement as I pointed out in the Introduction), that in order for the woman to practice the ministry of hospitality in the home, she needs to be in agreement and under the care of her husband in doing so.

Think about it. Women like to talk more. They like to get together and gab. They are more relational than men tend to be. Yet, men also crave good fellowship and the woman is sometimes in the best position to create an environment to foster healthy, spiritual fellowship with others in the home. But in order to practice hospitality successfully, it would behoove her to seek the opinions, advice and personal preferences of her husband in doing so. Stephanie wrote a great post on this recently, about the differences between her and her husband's extrovert/introvert tendencies. By finding out what kind of gatherings and events her husband most appreciated, she can serve both him and their family well when she plans to offer hospitality to others.

Husbands and spiritual authorities can offer a great deal of protection in helping the woman to gauge herself and her own energy levels well when deciding how much to take on. The man's role of overseer and protector of the home can be a great boon to her as she makes plans and sets schedules. This isn't something to balk over. Rather, it is something to be embraced as each sex helps its help meet!

I think that's the point I would draw away from Hunt's book. In order to engage in ministry inside or outside of the home effectively, it is beneficial for a woman to understand the life giving gifts and the role that God has given to her. Exercised effectively, and the ministry blossoms exponentially because she has submitted herself to her God, and to her husband and has accepted and embraced the role that she has been given to fulfill.

Women really have great deal of power to either destroy fellowship with others or to bring and birth life into relationships and situations. Understanding that role is imperative - especially as we are focusing on how to reach out to others and properly share Christ and His word to one another.

I continue to think Women's Ministry in the Local Church is extremely relevant for the topic of hospitality. If you have avoided this discussion so far, I hope you'll reconsider and think about what you might bring or add to our discussions here as we seek to be God-honoring women in all that we think, say and do.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Practicing Hospitality During Busy Seasons of Life

from Stephanie

It's time to say good-bye to the carefree fun-filled days of summer and hello to the activity-packed productive days of school.

If your life is anything like mine, your fall calendar is already filling up with church events, school meetings, and extra-curricular activities. So, how do we obey the command to be hospitable when life is already overflowing with busyness?

Be intentional about hospitality.

One online dictionary defines "intentional" as an action "characterized by conscious design or purpose". In other words, you plan ahead. I know, I know. All my spontaneous-loving friends just groaned, but before you move on to another blog, please hear me out. I'm not saying plan every detail today for a dinner 3 months away. I'm just asking you to be conscious of hospitality as you fill in your calendar.

For example, all year I have thought about hosting a pizza and movie night for some friends. Do you know how many times my thoughts have become action? 0. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

The main reason for my lack of hospitality is lack of planning. I tell myself "next month" and then I blink and next month's calendar is full to the brim. So I say "next month" again, only to have that month fill up before I invite my friends over. It's a vicious cycle.

This fall I am determined to change that cycle. I am going to sit down with my calendar (which already has our commitments and appointments on it) and write in "Hospitality" on specific days I want to invite people into my home from now until Thanksgiving. As those days get closer, then I'll plan the what and who.

By being intentional about when I will offer hospitality I hope to increase my obedience to this Biblical command.

Do you struggle with finding time for hospitality? How do you solve this problem?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Comfort Foods!

It's October and that means we're getting settled into our busy schedules, cooler weather has come and it's the calm before the holiday storm. This month we want to share recipes that bring you comfort. What is that go to recipe whenever you're needing a little pick me up? Maybe it's something your mom or grandmother used to make, a childhood favorite, a yummy dessert or something that celebrates your heritage. Hey, it could even be your favorite take out dish! ;-)
Just don't forget to blog about it and link up to share!

I don't know why this is a family favorite in our house, but seriously every time I make it there is never any leftovers, everyone is very happy and it's pretty simple to make!

Poultry Farmer's Pie
(aka Shepherd Pie)
1 lb ground meat
approx. 2 cups of gravy
1 bag frozen veggies
6-8 servings prepared mashed potatoes
Start by browning some meat in a pan, I use ground turkey seasoning with garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle on one packet gravy, I use turkey gravy, and some water (Using the packet to measure out the water according to pkg directions) and simmer for a few minutes, until gravy thickens. Stir occasionally. If your pan is not oven safe, transfer meat and gravy to an oven safe dish, add a layer of vegetables (frozen, canned (drained) or fresh doesn't matter). I usually use corn. Then add a top layer of prepared mashed potatoes (again instant or fresh doesn't really matter). Place in a 350 deg. oven for about 25-40 minutes or until golden peaks start to show on the potatoes. Serve with a salad and bread or as is.

I like this dish because you can make it as fancy or simple as you like it. You can use more expensive meats, make your own gravy, add fresh veggies and pipe on your mashed potatoes for a really sophisticated meal or just keep it basic, like we do. It's delicious either way! Got me thinking too, this would be a great way to serve up Thanksgiving left overs. Just layer cooked foods in an oven safe dish and bake until heated through!

photo from
Look at this shepherd pie that Gordon Ramsay served up on his show Kitchen Nightmares! Gorgeous!
You can find his recipe here!

If mac & cheese is your kinda thing, go here and become part of Gooseberry Patch's circle of friend, where you can download their ecookbook, 25 Macaroni and Cheese Recipes!

Again, don't forget to grab this button and link up your post!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Women's Ministry in the Local Church: Chapter 4 Discussion

By Stephanie from Offering Hospitality and Stephanie's Mommy Brain.

It's easy for us to agree that a church needs a women's ministry. It's also easy to agree that Jesus Christ is the motivation for our women's ministry. But then things start to get a little fuzzy.

Duncan and Hunt help clarify and guide our efforts to minister to women by naming five foundational principles for an organized women's ministry (and any ministry for that matter): The Gospel, Truth, Sound Doctrine, Discipleship, and Covenant.

Today I am going to focus on Truth and Discipleship as those two resonate with me most. Not that the others aren't necessary, I just don't have much to say about them {smile}.

The truth about womanhood has been culturally conditioned. At a conference a young college woman asked, 'How can I think biblically about womanhood when I am constantly told to pursue my own dreams, to be true to myself, and to seek my own fulfillment? (page 59)

This quote echoes my heart's cry. Where is Truth in the messages I hear about being a woman? Messages that tell me I should be a "strong woman." Or that I am "sacrificing" by being a stay at home mom. Or that I have to take care of myself first or I won't have anything left to give my family.

Only in a truth-based church will you hear "we exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope." (Romans 5:2b-5 NASB)

Or "if anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." (Matthew 16:24 NASB)

Deny myself. Exult in tribulations. It's difficult to reconcile those two statements with the "be all, do all, have it all" of our culture's vision of womanhood.

But it's truth. Truth you can build your life on. Like the wise man who built his house on the rock. A women's ministry helps women build their lives and we all want our lives built on truth. Because without truth you are building on sand. And we all know what happened when the foolish man built his house on the sand.

Hearing truth at church is one thing. Seeing it lived out in the lives of other women is something altogether different. This is where the discipleship of Titus 2 comes into play.

As women, we are relational and we learn best through our relationships. Especially relationships that allow us to observe and participate in everyday life. What better way is there to teach the concept that children are a blessing from God than for a young woman to develop a relationship with a mom who lives out that principle?

Unfortunately the relationships of Titus 2, without the truth and sound doctrine, often become the focus of a women's ministry. Duncan and Hunt warn that "if we overemphasize content, the ministry will be academic. If the emphasis is only relational, the ministry will be anemic." (page 60)

That's why a women's ministry needs all 5 principles to be healthy. The Gospel, The Truth, Sound Doctrine, Discipleship and Covenant all balance each other. Focusing a little too much on one and not enough on another can disable or even cripple a women's ministry.

Does your church have a women's ministry? If so, is it built on these 5 principles?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Recipe Swap Reminder

Just your friendly reminder that our montly recipe swap will be taking place this next Wednesday October, 6th! This month's theme is "Comfort Foods". Get those creative juices flowing, cook, blog and share!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Q & A: Hospitality to, er, Unruly Children

This is a topic that can get under people's skin and fire up a lot of emotions, opinions and downright convictions! That is: disobedient children and how to deal with them.

Blogger Ellen asked the Offering Hospitality Staff the following question and I, Carrie, will confess to you that I've been sitting on this one for awhile. It's a delicate subject matter and one that requires an excessive amount of grace. Even the staff members here differed on particulars and so I think what we'll go ahead and do is post Ellen's question and open the comment section up for you to offer your advice.


Hi! Just stumbled across your site today, and I realized I'd love to ask a question. We've been practicing hospitality in different ways for the 9 years of our marriage, and we've really enjoyed it for the most part.

But... I've run into a big snag for me in practicing hospitality. We have two little boys now, ages 3 and 1. Most of our friends have children. We don't have a ton of space. We find that dinners with some friends aren't enjoyable because they're chasing or managing their children most of the time, so we've tried just doing dessert and keeping it more simple.

In addition, we have some friends who let their children run and scream and and jump all over, pushing toys into walls, leaving toys everywhere, etc. This is how they are in their own home, so it doesn't surprise me that they act the same way elsewhere. I feel horrible about it, but I really don't like having them here. I cringe and start getting stressed even thinking about having them over.

Do you have any recommendations for verses to look at or things to pray about this situation? I want to have a welcoming heart about this, and it's very tough for me. I want to be the type of laid back person who really doesn't care... but I do. And I want to stop letting some children's behavior bother me.

Any suggestions?

First off, let me be quick to point out that Ellen went straight towards the best source looking for answers - the Bible. What DOES the Bible have to say about children?

  • They are a gift (Gen. 3:5; Ps. 113:9)
  • They are a heritage (Ps. 127:3-5)
  • Jesus welcomed them to Him (Mark 10:13-16)
  • We are to welcome them into our lives and fellowship with them. (Matt. 18:2-6, 10)

I think it is pretty clear that we are to welcome children into our lives and show hospitality to them. However, some children are more difficult to invite into the home than others. This is a great quandary and where each family chooses to draw their boundary line, I believe, needs to be between them and God.

Now, Ellen is also asking for some practical suggestions and here are a few that our staff would make and we would also ask for the advice and opinions of others.

  1. You might consider having families with more rambunctious children over for outdoor events, where the noise levels will not be as much as an issue and there will be plenty of room to run and play.
  2. Hosting an event at a neutral location, such as a park might be a good idea.
  3. Planning for an evening out with just the parents of the children might be the best choice for this particular season of life. (You do have to consider your own family boundaries and safety concerns when having others over.)
  4. You might consider putting away items and toys that you would rather your friend's children not play with and setting out specific toys that you do not mind them playing with. This might help to alleviate some of the tension of maintaining proper boundaries within your own home.
We also, as a staff, think that this question poses some good food for thought for anyone who is currently parenting young children. It's important to be respectful and mindful of other people's homes and property. Training your children how to respect and respond to the hospitality of others starts at home. For those of us with young kids, it would be good to take heed of the concerns that other people feel towards having young children over to play and instruct our children how to behave in social settings so that they a.) cause the least amount of offense possible b.) learn to behave in public and c.) learn how to be obedient and respectful of others.

This is tough stuff - on both sides of the line! So I'll stop talking now and open the floor.

What would you say to Ellen?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Women's Ministry in the Local Church: Chapter 3 Discussion

by Melissa at Breath of Life

Last week Ronnica talked about the need for women’s ministry. This week, we turn our attention to the motive behind having a women’s ministry. That’s the topic of Chapter 3: The Motive.

When Carrie was scheduling our discussions, I asked to write about this chapter because it spoke so distinctly to my heart. It’s taken from a sermon that J. Ligon Duncan gave, and Susan Hunt specifically asked him to include it in the book. In my humble opinion, this chapter alone makes the entire book worth reading.

I’ve attended many women’s events over the years, some wonderful and some not. At the last conference I attended, the speakers talked about God but didn’t even use Scripture. Instead, they offered little more than a bunch of moral platitudes. I had gone seeking a weekend of spiritual growth, and the “feel good” weekend left me feeling anything but good.

Much of my frustration with women’s ministry can be summed up in that one experience. I’m not against laughing and having fun; there’s a definite place in women’s ministry for that. But a Biblically-based women’s ministry will offer more than a girls’ night out. It will go beyond wanting to give women a chance to kick up their heels with their friends. A true women’s ministry will be different than other pop culture offerings for women; it will also encourage women to be different.

Duncan states, “Without a proper esteem and love for Christ Himself, and an understanding of His covenant love for His church, we will lack the motive-force to serve Him in the world.” (p. 46) If we don’t have the proper motive - love for Christ - we will be ineffective. Christ must be the very reason we seek to minister to others. Without Christ as our motive, we won’t be interested in meeting spiritual needs; we’ll be planning social functions with no lasting impact.

Christ must also be at the heart of a ministry because “[i]f our ultimate motivation is simply because we love people, we will never be able to sustain the call to service that God as given to us because the very people we are called to serve will break our hearts. It is only the grace of Christ that enables us to persevere.” (p. 46) We women are emotional creatures. We tend to wear our hearts on our sleeves, and we are skilled at wielding our tongues. That’s why having the proper motive is so very important. If we are ministering for any reason other than our love for Christ, we’ll be tempted to throw in the towel when people hurt or disappoint us.

Duncan emphasizes that women’s ministry should teach women to love the church, which, at times can seem pretty unlovable. We are a bunch of sinners, saved by grace. We make mistakes. We fail. But we are the Bride of Christ. “The Christian must serve in utter dependence on and with a deep love for Jesus Christ...Falling in love with Christ means falling in love with His Church.” (pp.51-52) When we have a proper love for the church, we will be motivated to serve God wherever He calls.

Is Christ the motivation behind the women’s ministry in your church? In your own life?


Melissa blogs about faith and family on her own blog, Breath of Life. She is also a contributing member at Southern Baptist Girl, a site designed to encourage women to think deeply on matters of faith and life.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hospitality Outside the Home (Guest Post)

Guest post from *Carrie* from with all that i've been given

“The image of preparing a table, or preparing a place, is a good overall image for hospitality. In genuine hospitality we work to make our entire existence a welcoming table, a place prepared for others to be at ease, to receive from us comfort and strength.”

–Radical Hospitality
I just love that quote. We should each be working so that our entire existence is welcoming to others. I think a lot of times we define hospitality as having others over, particularly for a meal, but there is so much more to it than that!

I appreciated a recent post on this blog called “Hospitality on the Road,” in which Crista shared a wonderful suggestion from Karen Ehman’s book A Life That Says Welcome: “Start by making a list of the things you're good at, such as baking, crafts, writing letters, intercessory prayer, cleaning, organizing, or connecting with children. If you're not sure, ask your family and close friends for their input! Once you have a list of talents you can offer to those around you, make a list of ways you can use those talents to bless the people in your own sphere.”

There were some great ideas offered in both the post and the comments, but since this is a topic I’ve continued to think about, I asked (the other) Carrie if I could share some additional thoughts here.

* I enjoy baking and making food for others, and our church offers many ways to practice this form of hospitality outside the home. I am grateful for these opportunities, because as a mom who stays home with two young children, there are many needs and projects in the church for which I am not well-suited at this time.

Some of the ways I’ve partnered with our church to make others feel welcome or to meet a need:

* bringing a meal to families with a new baby (I’m on a rotating list of others who’ve indicated a willingness to serve in this way.)

*bringing homemade cookies for the youth group’s annual bake sale

*making chili for our church’s regular service at the soup kitchen

*making cakes for funeral receptions

*contributing to meals for college students

Surely your own church has similar ways to serve. You may not be able to go on a mission trip right now, or to give a large sum to that end, but I bet you can bake some cookies for others to buy at a fundraiser! Even though much of these efforts are “behind the scenes,” I think they still convey a sense of community and service that is a piece of how I define hospitality.

* An acquaintance recently e-mailed me that a student from her area would be coming to our local college as a freshman, and she asked if I would be willing to check on the student after move-in weekend. Right before I headed over to the girl’s dorm, I had the idea to make her a little care package. I grabbed a couple things I had on hand, put them in a cute gift bag, and wrote a welcome note. I told her I was giving her three things every college student needs: caffeine (a can of Coke), chocolate (some candy), and a quick meal for a busy day (that old college staple, ramen).

Is there someone around you (or far away) who could use a care package? My example illustrates that it can be simple and inexpensive, but I definitely think it’s the thought that counts! My mom set a wonderful example for my sister and me in this area. She often sends little gifts or notes or a copy of an article she thinks we’ll enjoy. What a nice idea, especially since we live so far apart!

* Another idea for having a welcoming existence is to introduce yourself to someone new next time you’re at the park. I waffle between being an introvert and an extrovert, and sometimes my mood alone can make me feel shy, so I know it’s not always easy to do this. But the other day, I saw a mom I didn’t recognize who was holding a newborn and chasing a toddler. I went over and introduced myself, and we had a nice chat in between the kids’ needs. =) This family moved to our small town this summer, so I told her all about MOPS and some of the programs offered by our local library. I really love sharing these resources with other moms, especially because I know how much I appreciate when others do the same.

I hope this has given you something to consider, and I’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts. What do you do--what can you do--to be a welcoming presence to others?

Carrie blogs about life and stewardship at with all that I’ve been given.

Do you have a post in mind that you would like to write up and share with our readers here at Offering Hospitality? Please e-mail us on the side with any thoughts or ideas you might have! offeringhospitality (at) gmail (dot) com

Monday, September 20, 2010

Women's Ministry in the Local Church: Chapter 2 Discussion

Led by Ronnica from Ignorant Historian

In chapter 2 of Women's Ministry in the Local Church, Duncan and Hunt spell out the need for women's ministry. Here they define their position (and mine) beautifully:

"Complementarians believe that the Bible teaches that God has created men and women equal in their essential dignity and human personhood, but differently and complementary in function--with male spiritual leadership in the home and believing community, the Church, being understood as a part of God's design." (p. 32-33)

For a little background, I should share that I'm young, single, and the focal point of my ministry is children. Though I've studied biblical views of gender issues in seminary, I don't have much (any) practical experience to back it up. When I started this book, I really had to think through what my church does that would be official "women's ministry." I've always been encouraged to build relationships with women in my care group and in the larger church, but have rarely participated in women's events which we hold a few times a year.

That said, this book has helped me to think through what should women's ministry look like as I agree with Duncan and Hunt that it is necessary.

So, why do we need women's ministry?

  • We live in a culture that is constantly teaching us about gender, directly and indirectly. The church should have something to say about this as God's Word certainly isn't silent on this issue.

  • For women to grow to be godly women, we have to understand what that means. Preaching and teaching in godliness alone isn't enough; we need to know specifically how we should act out our faith as women. God created men and women to be different, so godliness will look different in some respects between the two sexes.

  • The church needs to support godly marriages. We've all heard about the divorce figure within the church being the same as in the world and about the rising numbers of churches accepting homosexual couples as a part of their membership...obviously the church needs help in this area.

What evidence have you seen for the need of women's ministries? Do you agree with Duncan and Hunt that it's necessary?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Single Hospitality (Guest Post)

by Ronnica at Ignorant Historian

As far as hospitality goes, I have two things working against me: I am unintentionally single as well as an incurable introvert.

Both are excellent excuses for avoiding hospitality.

But that’s exactly what they are: excuses.

I’m the last person who should be writing this post. Though I love to have people over, I rarely do it. Social engagements are something that I struggle with. I don’t like going in to anything alone, but that’s what I need to force myself to do. While I’m a fan of more intimate gatherings, I let my busyness and my fear of man (not wanting to be turned down or thought “weird”) stop me from doing them more often. Not to mention my selfish desires for my time to be my own time.

I’m thankful for the opportunities that I’ve been given to be hospitable, whether hosting someone in my home or organizing a breakfast for others. But I need to be better at reaching out for opportunities to serve, sharing the love of Christ.

Here’s advice that I’ve been given or discovered and have found helpful/challenging:

Take the initiative. If you’re like me, you haven’t been offered too many invitations to come over and enjoy a family meal. Don’t wait for someone to invite you…invite them.

Be creative. Perhaps you’re limited in space or by those you live with, but be welcoming nonetheless. Pay attention to the needs of those around you: Is there someone new at church that could use a new friend? Is there a couple in desperate need of a night away from their young children? Is there a family going through a trying time that could use a meal? Is there a neighbor who needs to be shown the love of Christ, such as having their windows deiced in the morning or a plate of muffins delivered to their door?

Treat wherever you live now as your home. Of course our true home is in heaven, but treat wherever you live now—however temporary—as a home and not just a place to lay your head down at night once you shove your discarded wardrobe and books off your bed. Keep it organized. Find inexpensive ways to make it look nice. This will be a blessing to yourself and your family/roommates as well as make you feel more comfortable hosting guests.

Don’t apologize for a meal/dishes/furniture that aren’t up to some cultural standard. Don’t be restricted by what you see in a homemaking magazine. Hospitality doesn’t require hundreds of dollars of investment. Sure, save up to buy a complete dish set that would complement your d├ęcor, but don’t wait until you have it to invite anyone over. Be a good steward of what you have, but don’t feel bad if your couch has some warn spots, your apartment carpet shows evidence of previous occupants, or if your best dishes don’t match. And as for the cooking, try out a new recipe ahead of time to work out the kinks. No need to be gourmet…I always have felt more at home with more down-to-earth menu options.

Just do it. Stop making excuses. Make one hospitality goal this week, and carve out some time in your schedule to do it. Plan ahead to next week…is there someone you can invite over?

I hope you’ll join me in seeking to be a better servant of God by serving others. Carolyn McCulley has this excellent reminder for us:

“Ladies, may we never fear odd numbers around our tables, for our Lord is always with us.” Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye?, p. 115

Monday, September 13, 2010

Women's Ministry in the Local Church: Introduction

written by Carrie

This is our first week to discuss the book Women's Ministry in the Local Church, by J. Ligon Duncan and Susan Hunt. Published by Crossway Books, we'll be walking through a discussion of our reading of this title from now through the month of November, taking the book apart chapter by chapter.

The following women will be taking turns leading the weekly discussions:

Carrie from Reading to Know and Offering Hospitality (that would be me!)

Ronnica from Ignorant Historian

Melissa from Breath of Life and Southern Baptist Girl

Stephanie from Stephanie's Mommy Brain and Offering Hospitality

We are all in different states, churches and life circumstances but we all agree on one thing - women have a role to play in the church and we want to be Biblically discerning when it comes to figuring out what that role is and the right way to fulfill it. I personally approached each of these other blogging women listed above because I've followed their blogs for some time, and have come to know, trust and respect their opinions. I'm delighted to walk through this book with them and see what everyone has to say about it.

Furthermore, we are very glad to have you along for the ride and hope you will vocalize your thoughts to us as we take this journey together.

It's my job today to introduce this book to you and I do want to make a few things about it very clear as we get started.

Number 1: Susan Hunt wrote this book alongside J. Ligon Duncan, who is a pastor in the PCA (the denomination Hunt is a part of.) That to say, there is a male figure also leading the message of this book which is something I appreciate on a topic such as this.

Number 2: I want to take special note of the opening paragraph in this book which states the following:

"The subject of this book is not women; it is the Church of the Lord Jesus. Though the focus of the book is one specific area of the church's ministry, a biblical understanding of the church acknowledges that no part stands alone. A women's ministry is one component of the total life and work of a local church." (Chapter 1, The Story, page 17)
Number three: In Chapter 1 the authors spell out the fact that they are building the book on two bodies of work: The Danvers Statement of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and The Biblical Foundation of Womanhood Materials.

I have linked to The Danvers Statement for your convenient and would greatly encourage you to spend this week just familiarizing yourself with this resources as the authors have clearly given a nod in its direction. Duncan and Hunt include the Ten Affirmations of The Danvers Statements and this website link leads you to the rationale and the Ten Affirmations. It will take you all of 15 minutes to read and is well worth your time to develop a better understanding of this book and the message it intends to deliver.

For now, this is where I'm going to leave you. Short and sweet. Just read through The Danvers Statement and we'll move on from there.

We hope you are excited to join us. We recognize this is a testy subject for some, so please pray that we would handle it both sensitively, wisely and well. It is not our goal to be divisive, but to discover what roles women can play within the church. As I believe that one way women can serve the body of Christ is through hospitality, I'll definitely be curious to hear what topics Duncan and Hunt choose to hit upon! We welcome your thoughts, opinions and comments so please do not be afraid to share!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Extrovert vs Introvert Hostesses and Their Families

I looked around the living room and didn't see my (then) 3.5 year old son anywhere. His brother (about 5 years old at the time) occupied center stage and entertained our guests with gusto. I wondered where the younger boy could be so I went in search.

I found him sitting in his bedroom with one of our guests quietly working a puzzle. My first thought was that he felt sick but, after asking a few questions, I realized he just felt overwhelmed by the 10 or 12 twenty-somethings celebrating Christmas with us.

Since that night I always expect 2 things to happen during any event my family hosts: one son will be found in the middle of the group chatting their ears off and the other son will seek out a quiet corner with only a couple of people to listen to.

The funny thing is that my husband and I are just like the boys. I'm the one who loves a BIG party and feels neglectful if I don't have a conversation with every person in attendance. My husband on the other hand prefers groups of 6 to 8 and looks for a nice quiet corner when he's at a large party.

I confess this difference in personality has caused me a great deal of frustration and annoyance in the past. I wanted my husband to enjoy the same kind of parties I enjoyed. I wanted him to engage people in conversation. I wanted us to host large cook-outs and church-wide fellowships.

But that isn't the way God created my husband or one of my sons. God designed them to prefer small gatherings and me to love a big bash. He made us different which isn't good or bad, just different.

What does my family's personality differences mean for me as a hostess?

Well, I realized after a recent large gathering that I need to consider the introverts in my family when I volunteer to host an event. That means only hosting one large gathering a year and planning small intimate dinners the rest of the time. It also means that large gathering should be in the summer so we can be in the backyard and my introverts won't be overwhelmed by 30+ people in our 1150 sq. foot home.

While I don't necessarily need to give up big parties I do need to adjust my expectations and extend hospitality to my own family first. After all, what's the point of 30 friends and acquaintances having a great time if some of the people I love most in the world are miserable?

It's a balancing act that I'm learning to make for my husband and son. I'd love to learn how you balance the different personalities in your home while obeying the mandate to offer hospitality.

Do you have any suggestions for me or is this the first time you've thought about personalities and their influence on hospitality?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Recipe Swap: Potluck Foods

Ahh...Fall is almost here! I may be the only one, but I am so ready for Fall this year. I am looking forward to what God has in store for us this school year. I love the cooler stormy weather, cuddling up with a good book, a yummy smelling candle, cozy blanket and a hot cup of coffee or cocoa. With the upcoming cooler weather we are moving our entertaining indoors and looking to share our favorite potluck recipes.

My church does a fun fellowship opportunity called Supper Clubs. Those who sign up are put in groups and once a month your group meets in each persons home for a potluck dinner. It's been a few years since our church has done this and I am excited for it's return. Does your church/family/community do something similar?

Link up your favorite potluck recipes and share!

This is my favorite thing to bring to potluck dinners. They are easy to make and everyone enjoys them. Drizzle with a bit of honey to make them extra sweet!

Sweet Corn Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Corn Meal
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups milk
2 Lg eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbsp butter, melted

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Grease or paper-line 18 to 20 muffin cups.
COMBINE flour, sugar, corn meal, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Combine milk, eggs, vegetable oil and butter in small bowl; mix well. Add to flour mixture; stir just until blended. Pour into prepared muffin cups, filling 2/3 full.
BAKE for 18 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool slightly. Serve warm.

When I make these at home I use my cornbread skillet (pictured above), which gives a larger portion. They could even be done in a mini muffin pan or the recipe could be doubled, tripled, etc to get more servings out of each batch.
Corn Muffins Two Ways...Yumm!!!

Still want more ideas? Check out this cookbook with lots of ideas on dishes to serve a crowd.