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summertime hospitality

Summertime is here so barefoot, popsicles, and backyard sprinklers are a must! Summer time also means camps! Linley and Ella Kate went to CentriKid camp and I was thrilled for them. I was a little teary-eyed as I sent EK off and I let her go just a little more. I was excited they were able to experience camp that I went to as a camper and served as a staffer for three life-changing summers. These are truly life-changing camps through Bible studies, track times, games, parties, and friends. Each camper is treated uniquely special and the staffers create opportunities to know their names and have intentional conversations. If you are curious about this camp, click here!

Did you enjoy National Ice Cream Day? We celebrated all week by going to an ice cream shop and eating yummy waffle cones filled with creamy goodness. It was fun to do something different and visit friends who own the shop. Gathering to eat together is fun and time spent with others is important!

One of my most favorite childhood memories is Sunday nights after church when I was in high school, my parents’ Sunday school class came over to our house after service. Each family brought some item for sandwiches and snacks. My good friend always came with her parents, so we had fun hanging outside on hot summer Kentucky nights.

Those memories of hosting people at our home during those years bring joy! Hospitality in our culture was changed in 2020 and has probably shifted culture forever. We are all called to it and are better when we are able to secure relationships with people and share our homes and meals with others. Jesus often visited people in their homes and ate meals with them.

After Izzy Grace was born in April, I wanted to get out of the house in the pretty spring weather, but Sunday mornings were a bit much with a newborn. As weird as it may sound, on Sunday mornings, I rode along with the rest of the family to church, then Izzy Grace and I had a coffee date together and listened to Focus on the Family podcasts or sermons online. We sat in the van and just enjoyed time together with the windows down, sunroof opened, and enjoyed the quiet. After the hour, we picked everyone else up from church and silence was broken, but that time spent with her was precious.

One podcast from Focus on the Family was about hospitality. The guest talked about how important it is to not worry about the pinterest home or the pinterest meal and to make the invitation anyway. It is more important for the guest to be invited than to worry about having a perfect table setting or pretty tablescape. I know that, but often miss out on opportunities for hospitality because I think I have nothing to offer regarding a meal or the circumstances are just “not right.” If I wait for the perfect day or grocery shopping to work out great, I know it will never happen. I just need to do it.

After this realization, I began with asking a young guy from Brett’s young adult small group with no family close by to come for supper. Of course, there would be interruptions, right?! I thought I did not need a pie crust for this chocolate pie I had my heart set on making, but when we gathered the ingredients, apparently I did. Not to be deterred and convinced a cobbler was not the better option, we put together ingredients for two pies to double the recipe. I packed up everyone and made a special trip down the road to Wal-Mart, just in time to get one of the girls to ballet and fix lunch. Whew! Pies take a long time to bake! It did not smell very chocolate-y but had high hopes for it. That evening, he came, we played outside, served hamburgers, macaroni and cheese, and pie. I ate a piece of the pie…it was not bad, but was not good either. It tasted like some chocolate was missing. I wonder if during the measuring process with six pairs of small hands wanting to measure and pour, something went awry. I suppose it probably did, and usually I would be embarrassed, but we did what we were called to do. He knew we cared enough to host him and that was the point.

At the Southern Baptist Convention, of course we hung out with Lifeway, and had fun making paper airplanes as part of the theme. One of the clear walls had a place with instructions to “Grab a marker and write down how we can pray for your ministry.” I signed it motivated with heart and purpose to share what we have with others.

Hospitality is not always convenient and it is not always on my scheduled agenda. We have a neighborhood friend - a seven-year-old boy, who walks down to play occasionally. Only the girls are his age, so I am pretty sure we are a last resort when the neighborhood boys are not outside, but he is a nice kid. His voice in fact, reminds me of Thumper from Bambi. I love it. He has gone on several bike rides with us, which is fun for him and us. On one ride, his baseball cap fell to the ground and he was insistent someone get it for him instead of getting off his bike to reach it himself. We told him we would wait, to which he responded, “I thought you might leave me.” We insisted we would not do that as he picked up his little baseball cap off the grass.

He has a story like everyone else has a story. Each person we meet has successes, difficulties, struggles, and interests. His parents are recently divorced and his dad has health problems. He has found himself bored many days this summer. On National Ice Cream Day a few Sundays ago, we splurged and bought Drumsticks from the grocery store to eat them in the afternoon. Our friend wandered into the yard while we were picking up to get our bikes for a bike ride before eating the sweet ice cream treats. We invited him to ride bikes with us, so he did. After the ride, he wanted to stick around, since he did not have to be home yet, and followed us to the backyard. We did not plan on serving extra ice cream comes, but he enjoyed some chocolate swirl ice cream too. Hospitality can throw off the plans, which is rough for the scheduled planners like me. We never know what someone else needs and that person is someone’s daughter or son. Most importantly, that person is important to God.

On a Sunday afternoon bike ride, we got caught in a downpour, some friendly Chicago neighbors around the corner saw us, and invited us into their garage, especially because of a baby in a stroller. They had just returned from the pool themselves and began serving snacks they had in their pool bags. The rain did not slow down, so the husband and wife invited us inside to sit on the couches and brought out more food! They served us Coke 0 and juice drinks and took out some bowls to put assorted random snacks in. We sat in their living room for an hour. This was a great example of hospitality to me.

People often give “stuff” but maybe not time. These people gave their time and food! When Jesus was on earth, He gave His time. He sat with people, visited them in their homes, and ate meals with them. He was never too busy and wanted the little children to come (Matthew 19:14). We all have routines and lives to live. It is in the routines and schedules that we can find opportunities to be hospitable. I have a friend who is married with two kids and had some college students who wanted to hang out with her. She did not need to abandon her kids or job to have coffee dates, so she told them she was available early in the morning - like 7 a.m. early - and they showed up! We all want to feel loved and have a place to belong.

Everyone can practice hospitality from high school hallways to college dorm rooms to suburban mom living rooms! I look forward to hearing your stories! Stay cool!



God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His one and only Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another.

1 John 4:9-11

Pic(k) of the week:

I am feeling all Betty Crocker because I put together and baked two casseroles, and someone drops the casserole dish, which results in this... Supper was a little delayed that night but we still ate a hot casserole! If you have a mess in your day today, you are not alone! This stuff splashed everywhere!

1 Comment

May 28

You tell the beststories! I hear your parents are moving to AL?

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