“Here, Mom, I picked these pretties for our party,” our young daughter exclaimed as her clutched hands pushed forth a wild flower weeds and daffodil mixture bouquet from our garden.
Her proud, precious face burst with excitement because her afternoon hike served a greater purpose: honoring our guests with her simple blooms of beauty.
She bounced inside and helped stir the big pitcher of lemonade, while her sister took the large, soft chocolate chip cookies hot from the oven. I started the coffee as the door bell rang.
The next moment we were swept up in welcoming hugs from special girlfriends that had come to spend a simple afternoon together.
Giggles, stories, tears and even moments of reflection all intertwined hearts in just hours. The essence of those moments together was absorbed and cherished, but more importantly, I have prayed that those moments made poignant marks on my daughters.
Not just that specific moment, but fast forward many years and I pray that simple weed bouquet, lemonade and cookie gatherings just like that have been modeled for them time and time again, until hospitality is no longer something that they have to think about or stress over, but that it’s become an outpouring of who they are as women of God. Through continually pouring out their hearts and homes to others, hospitality seeps through their spirit answering not the question of, “Should I?” but, “When, how and who?” with a full understanding of the soul food that comes from gathering together.
Over a lifetime, my parents have modeled that our home is not our own. Whether I’ve lived in a rented one room apartment or a homestead in the country, I am merrily stewarding this gift that God has graciously given, so how can I not use it for His glory?
Those are the moment markers I pray have been imprinted on our children.
Soak up community around you, surrender reservations that keep connecting from occurring and abide in His purposed plan for time together.
This act of breaking bread together is an opportunity for nourishment on so many levels. Jesus used food throughout his ministry to break down barriers, bring community together, cross economic boundaries and even give Jews and Gentiles the opportunity to eat together.
So much more goes on during a shared meal than simply eating. Personal, social and spiritual needs can all be met through the sharing of real life around a table and that is one of (in)courage’s desires as we host the (in)RL weekend.
Come share your story.
There’s still plenty of time to sign up at a location close to you or even host a simple time together in your own home. (Click here for all the (in)RL details and to register today!)
Our home is a place where everyone is welcome.
On a daily basis we celebrate both the beauty and bedlam of everyday life, and a large majority of that celebration centers around the kitchen and some great comfort food.
So grab some women and gather around your kitchen table to share life together.
It’s in the kitchen where the warmth of shared memories, laughter and life create a recipe that spans generations.
Remember, small is the new big and stress-free hospitality is our new mantra.
When you take the risk to open your heart and home, we want you to actually enjoy the time with your guests. We are all at different life stages, with varying schedules and budgets, so if a beautifully presented atmosphere is your love language, then use those gifts and go all out, but for the rest of you, know that simplicity with one’s decor and menu are always welcome friends.
I desire time to pull up a chair and enjoy the ladies around me, to hear them share their stories. My days leading up to (in)RL are packed, so I don’t have the option to spend my weeks overwhelmed with the details, thereby rendering me exhausted by the time the first guest arrives.
This festive featured tablescape took no more than 15 minutes to put together and I am fairly certain that included grabbing my favorite turquoise spray paint, quickly tying all my mismatched brass candle sticks, platter and varying accessories together with one painting swoop to create a color theme, as well as creating a decorative napkin fold with my yard sale linens.
By pairing some of the new Daily Grace Collection with my thrifted chargers, glasses and cloth napkins, I’ve created an incredibly easy and doable, decorative table in minutes.
But my best party 15-minute planning tip must stay a secret between you and me. Did you notice my colorful “table runner?” It’s wrapping paper. It sure is! No one would ever know and it’s been my go to trick for dozens of events over the last few years.
When asked to decorate an entire school cafeteria for a football banquet, two days notice and no budget, I shopped multiple thrift stores for anything resembling white tablecloths and that primarily included white sheets and white cloth curtains. I found enough to cover the tables and then created runners out of their school colors with wrapping paper and burlap.
Yes, the Lord cares about our simplest of details like decorations on a budget. He definitely gave me that divine inspiration and I have been using that trick ever since.
Since food is a key component to any gathering, and I’m continually asked for menu suggestions, let’s make it simple, yet delicious.
Perfect for (in)RL or our upcoming Easter celebration, these festive brunch recipe ideas all make regular appearances at our large gatherings, so I guarantee they’ve been tested and approved x 50.
Simple Festive Brunch Ideas
- Elegant Egg Bake: No one will ever believe this most requested recipe came together in five minutes.
- Copy Cat Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Casserole: Comfort food at its finest
- Overnight Rise Cinnamon Rolls, Overnight Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake or Strawberry Stuffed French Toast (These do the work while you sleep)
- Easy Cream Cheese Danish
- Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle (Always beautiful when served in a glass bowl, yet whips up in minutes.)
- Simple Fruit Salad and Fresh Veggies
If you choose to tie Easter brunch into your celebration, the Resurrection Rolls or Joy Filled Jelly Bean Garden combines a rich significance into food traditions, something that makes lasting memories.
Hopefully, you’ll be inspired with some of my simple and doable ideas and gather some of your friends together.
I’m so excited to host an (in)RL brunch at our homestead, and I hope you will join us as we come together in corners of community around the world on April 26. (For more information about (in)RL, click here!)
Hospitality is close to my heart and I would love to invite you share some of your most significant memories of hospitality.
How has hospitality been shown or modeled for you? Are there specific markers that stand out as examples?
I am fairly certain it had nothing to do with a grandiose setting or a 16 course meal, but most likely those included in the time together. The comments are open for you to share.
1 Peter 4:9 – “Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay for the night.”