Easy Hospitality

hospitality

Easy Hospitality

“There’s somebody pounding on the door,” Sandy told me.

Two o’clock in the morning?! Who could that be?!

The night seemed foreboding. Could this be a ploy?

Looking through the window I saw only her, crying, “Please help me. I’ve been raped.”

Cold, wet, and trembling, she rushed inside when I opened the door and ushered her to the sofa. In short gasps, she told her story, admitting she had lied. She was not raped, but was threatened. He offered her a ride home at the bar where they met. Instead of taking her in the direction of home, he drove down the forlorn River Road. When he threatened her in his stupor, she opened the car door and fell out. Waiting in the bushes until she thought he was gone, she ran to the trailer nestled next to a large warehouse by the river.

“I saw the light on the porch, and I felt I could trust you,” she sobbed.

The man drove by and then turned, coming back our way. That was when she begged to be let inside. Even after she was inside, he kept driving by our trailer.

There were two other guests in our trailer that night. My sister (asleep in the room we were sharing) and an elderly Amish man, asleep in my bedroom.

When it seemed safe to leave, we drove her to her apartment. We never saw her again.

Is it wrong to take risks? Was it wise to allow her into our home? Do we only invite others into our world when we feel prepared and safe?

Wide awake after our return, I remembered my prayer a few months before. A single nurse living fifty miles from home, I felt disconnected and frustrated that my schedule prohibited me from participating regularly in my church’s events and activities.

One day I told God, “I feel useless with little to give, but I offer my trailer to You.”

hospitality

God took me up on that offer. 

  • Within a few months, a family asked permission to park their motor home at our place during the father’s hospitalization for cancer. They hooked their power to our electric meter and ran a hose from our water supply. They stayed several weeks.
  • Then Sandy, a single mom, asked to stay with us one night a week while taking college classes. Our sofa became her bed.
  • During that same period, an Amish woman from our community had surgery at our hospital. We offered my bed to her husband Reuben and I moved into my sister’s bedroom.

That was why both Sandy and Reuben were with us the night this girl arrived on our porch.

 

And I thought all I had was a two-bedroom trailer.

 

hospitality

The pineapple is a symbol of hospitality

God only asks us to share what we have. He will use it.

When the disciples suggested the crowds be sent away, Jesus instructed them to feed those people. Really? Feed 5,000 men plus women and children? They had been busy all day long. It was late. They were tired and wanted to go home. But then, since when should hospitality only be practiced when it looks fun?

There was a lad with a lunch of five loaves and two fish. It wasn’t much, but it became more than enough when it was given to Jesus.

 

God asks us to share what we have for His use.

On a whim one Sunday, my Sunday school teacher invited her class for lunch. She also invited her son’s friends who were our age. I have no idea how over a dozen boys and girls squeezed into their car for the ride home. I cannot tell you what food was served or the design on the plates at her table. Never mind that my teacher had a heart condition, was never healthy, and died young.  All I know is fifty years later this is still one of my favorite childhood memories. What made it so special? Her spontaneous warmth and affirmation.

God will use what we willingly share.

The Shunamite woman saw Elisha’s need as he came through her community. She and her husband built a simple room onto their house with a bed, a table, a stool, and a candlestick. Her purpose? To meet the needs of the Prophet. What an example of gracious hospitality! Read the story beginning in verse eight of  2 Kings 4. 

God will use what we have and share.

When I was a child, my church owned three meeting houses, one centrally located and the other two at opposite ends of the county. Our congregation rotated meeting centrally one Sunday and at opposite ends on alternate Sundays. Because of travel distance, folks outside the community chose a home to visit for lunch, arriving unannounced and uninvited! What fun to decide where we would go this Sunday. On opposite Sundays, we waited expectantly to see what guests might come to our house!

Years later, my aunt Della shared about the Sunday people kept coming until she had twenty uninvited guests plus her family of eight to serve. Going to the basement to get more canned fruit, she had a good cry before heading back upstairs.

We have lost something since then. Or perhaps some of us never found it in the first place!

Hospitality is an art and a command.  There are many scriptures instructing us in hospitality. You can check out a few of them here if you’re wondering what God really says about hospitality: Isaiah 58:7; I.Peter 4:8,9; Leviticus 19:33, 34;  Luke 14:2-14. Some of us might need a little more practice and experience, but the ability is right there if we are willing to hone that heart attitude.

When folks feel the welcome and the warmth of a gracious host, they fail to notice a less than perfect house. Lonely people need belonging and care, not exotic food and fanfare. Waiting until we are ‘ready’ or ‘feel like’ having company is no way to practice hospitality. In fact, it is not true hospitality.

hospitality

There are many ways to do hospitality, and there is no set standard. Be who you are, and share what you have. Hospitality is not about entertaining or about showing off what we own or what we can do. Hospitality is not a competition. It is about blessing others with belonging, value, and importance. Hospitality is the affirmation we give to others that they are of value.

When we invite folks whose lifestyles we cannot approve into our homes, we are giving them Jesus. When we share what we have to help ease the burdens of others, we are sharing the compassion of Jesus. When we provide rest and refreshment for God’s people, we are enabling their mission.

God wants us to give what we have, doing it willingly and cheerfully.

He wants us to open, not only the doors of our homes, but the doors of our hearts as well.

 

Hors D’oeuvres on Hospitality

  • Remember that there are many different ways to do hospitality.
  • Be yourself, and keep competition and comparison out of the picture. not someone else. Share what you have            instead of comparing yourself with others.
  • Keep competition out of the picture. If you are not a china person, use paper plates.
  • Allow others to serve differently than you, even if they use china.
  • Ask for help; don’t try to do it all. Guests can help provide food.
  • Start by giving the invitation. Once you have done that, you will have to move ahead!
  • If you are new to hosting, begin by inviting someone just for dessert instead of an entire meal.
  • Keep it simple. Less is more. Simplify your menu; have plenty of it.
  • If you only have room for ten, invite ten, not fifty.
  • If your house is small, invite a larger crowd with a yard party; ask folks to bring lawn chairs or blankets.
  • True hospitality willingly hosts those who never return the favor.
  • Genuine hospitality does not withhold favor based on status or behavior.
  • Hospitality should come before pride. Remember: it is not about you. It is about the value and worth of others.

To read more about the pineapple and its symbol of hospitality, you can click here and here.

This article was published in 2017 in Daughters of Promise Magazine.click here For more information about the magazine, .

hospitality

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Come Home

homeThis is the story I was told:  A young man had made some poor choices. He was at the end of his rope and knew he had failed himself, his parents, and the commitment he made to his God years before. Sure, he’d had good intentions and he had been sincere. Life happened; he made wrong choices; he had fallen and now he wondered if there was any way to get back up and start over again.

One evening  as he sat down in the middle of the mess where he was living, He called his folks. He wasn’t sure that he really wanted them to know his dilemma, but he didn’t know where else to go or what else to do.

Heartbroken, they listened as the phone lines carried his words of failure, defeat, and hopelessness.

At the end of his tired explanation, they said three words.

Those words gave him hope and belonging.

          “Just come home.”

He was their child, their son. All they wanted him to do was come home.

What is it about just coming home that brings healing and restoration?  What is it about coming home that gives life and re-birth and hope?

They had given him wings, and now it was time to go back to his roots.

He needed to remember that he belonged.

That’s how the Father is with us. When we have been so wrong, when we have failed Him or others, all He asks of us is what those parents asked of their son: just come home.

It’s what the father of the prodigal son wanted most of all for his son: just come home.

It’s what any parent wants for a wayward child or a lost one who is out of the fold: just come home.

It’s what our Heavenly Father wants for us most of all: just come home.

I’ve been there. I might not have been eating the husks fed to the pigs, but I’ve been away. I’ve needed to just come home. Sometimes the wandering begins because of hurt, anger, or grief. We distance ourselves from those who caused the pain; we distance ourselves from God who allowed the pain to happen.

home

Before we even know what’s happening, we’ve drifted away from home, away from safety, away from the harbor. We don’t recognize what happened to cause us to become distant from our safe harbor. It happens so subtly that sometimes we’re drifting far from the shore before we realize we’re treading dangerous waters. That’s when it’s time to just come home.

It’s the best place to be, and the best place to go when we’ve wandered, failed, and messed up completely.

If you’re in a place far from home; if you’ve wasted your time, your energy, your money, and your life; if you’ve spent until you’re penniless, just go home.

The lights of Home are still on, begging you to come in. There’s a welcome there – just for you. There is love and forgiveness waiting at Home.

Just come home.

come home

 

 

Chicken Alfredo with Homemade Sauce

chicken alfredo

This recipe is an easy do-ahead. You can cook your noodles and make the sauce a day ahead, then combine and heat to serve. It’s also an easy one to do for a quick dinner – in thirty minutes or less. For the chicken, I’ve used my home-canned chicken. [Clicking on this link takes you to canned beef, but it works as well for chicken. Follow the directions exactly but substitute chicken for beef.] I’ve also used left-over grilled chicken or any chicken that’s left over from another meal. Simply put it into a freezer zip-lock bag and save it for the time you need this for a quick meal.

I’ve tried many different Alfredo recipes and this is the one I’ve come up with that works for me. When you make your own sauce, you know exactly what is in it, and there are no preservatives hiding around in that list of ingredients!

While you’re making the sauce, cook the noodles according to the package directions.

chicken alfredo

For the sauce, you’ll find that it thickens on its own without any flour added. Melt your butter and cream cheese together, then add heavy cream (use light or milk if you prefer). Seasonings can be adjusted to your liking and you’ll add the cooked chicken to the sauce just before you combine the noodles with the ingredients.

If you’re into counting calories, you might prefer light cream or milk instead of any cream. But for a hearty Alfredo sauce, you’ll want to use real butter and real cream.

 

Drain the noodles and combine the sauce and chicken with the noodles. Garnish with parsley.

alfredo sauce

Chicken Alfredo with Homemade Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
An easy homemade sauce to make your own Chicken Alfredo. Easy to make and a guarantee to have no hidden preservatives.
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces noodles
  • ½ cup butter
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 cups heavy cream - or 1 cup cream and 1 cup milk
  • 2-3 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups cooked (or grilled) chopped chicken
  • parsley flakes for garnish
Instructions
  1. Cook noodles according to package, then drain
  2. Melt butter and cream cheese in saucepan, stirring
  3. Add cream (and/or milk)
  4. Stir until it thickens
  5. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper
  6. Add Parmesan cheese
  7. Add chicken, then toss together with the sauce
  8. Garnish with parsley

 

alfredo

On Air Travel – and Boarding Airplanes

boarding airplanes

The Missing Airline

I am still waiting to find the airline that allows passengers to board in order of their seating, beginning with those who will be seated in the rear of the plane instead of beginning with those who will be seated in the front. Every time I fly, I wonder why no airline is doing this.

I mentioned this to a stewardess while boarding the other week.

She replied, “Exactly! I don’t know why we can’t!”

It was the same response I’ve received from other stewardesses on different airlines when I’ve mentioned it in the past. I keep suggesting it and I keep getting the same responses, so I think that means I’m on to something.

First Class versus Other Class

Certainly, I understand why elderly folks and those with small children need extra time to board and get settled. After First Class, elderly, and families with children have found their seats, it seems to me that it would make sense to begin boarding those passengers who will be seated in the back of the plane.

It has nothing to do with rank, title, or the cost of the seat. It has everything to do with making boarding airplanes easier and more efficient instead of harder, more frustrating,  and more time consuming.

boarding airplanes

You see how long this is taking?!

When groups one and two board, those in group three wait in line. Group three comes on the plane and has to wait for the folks in group one and two to finish putting their luggage in the overhead bins. Group three can’t continue until those in groups one and two are seated. When there is room for group three, those passengers hoist their luggage in the overhead bins while group four waits in the aisles of the plane until they can get through to the back of the plane.

I understand why folks who pay for First Class seats don’t want to wait to board.  Admittedly, sometimes from the looks that the First Class passengers give to other boarders,  one would wonder why they don’t sit out in the terminal and wait so they don’t have to have all those lower class folks pass their seats!

Efficiency and Comfort

For the rest of us, boarding and getting buckled could be streamlined if we’d board in order of our seating beginning with those assigned to the back of the plane instead of the front.

I wonder which airline will be first to give this plan a try?

 

boarding airplanes