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Winter Cocktails for Advent – A Slow Down Approach to the Holidays (Cocktail #4 – Amaretto Eggnog)

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[This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. The Provision Room is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.]

Amaretto Eggnog

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without eggnog!  It’s true.  The only time eggnog comes around is during the Advent season, so drink up my friends!

If you are a purist then by all means make your own eggnog!  (Here is a great recipe by Alton Brown over at Food Network.  You’ll probably want to leave out the bourbon suggested in the recipe.  Or not.  Go big or go home!)  If you don’t have the time or inclination to make your own, then a good store bought version will be fine.

For the cocktail:

1 oz amaretto
1 oz vodka
2 oz eggnog
ground cinnamon or nutmeg for garnish

Shake amaretto, vodka, and eggnog together in a cocktail shaker over ice.  Pour into a glass and enjoy!

For the mocktail, simply leave out the alcohol and garnish each glass with cinnamon or nutmeg.

Snuggle up in front of a fire and enjoy!

Cocktail #1: Rosemary Moscow Mule

Cocktail #2 Old Vermont

Cocktail #3 Grown-up Hot Chocolate

Amaretto Eggnog

[This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. The Provision Room is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.] Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without eggnog!  It’s true.  The only time eggnog comes around is […]

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Prayer for the Week Oct 12 – I Shall Not Want

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From the love of my own comfort
From the fear of having nothing
From a life of worldly passions
Deliver me O God

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From the need to be understood
From the need to be accepted
From the fear of being lonely
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

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And I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

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From the fear of serving others
From the fear of death or trial
From the fear of humility
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

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And I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

No, I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

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From the love of my own comfort From the fear of having nothing From a life of worldly passions Deliver me O God From the need to be understood From the need to be accepted From the fear of being lonely Deliver me O God Deliver me O God And I shall not want, I […]

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Answering Your Questions: The Difference Between Hybrid & GMO

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Q.  Ok, Provision Room, I have another food question: I have been hearing and reading so much lately about wheat being terrible for you because it has been genetically modified or hybridized. Do you know? Is there a form of wheat flour that can be purchased that is still good for you? We don’t mind making our own bread. I’m just having a hard time with the thought of giving up bread, all together. I’ve tried to do some Internet research on my own, but there is so much conflicting information out there, and it seems like everyone wants to sell you their latest book or diet program.

Wheat near Pendleton, Oregon (Photo: Lynn Ketchum, Oregon State Extension and Experiment Station Communications)

Wheat near Pendleton, Oregon (Photo: Lynn Ketchum, Oregon State Extension and Experiment Station Communications)

A.  All the information out there can be very confusing!  But there are some simple truths.  First, the difference between hybridization and genetically modified (GM) seeds is the difference between what can naturally occur in nature vs. what can only be accomplished in a laboratory.

Hybridization of plant species has been occurring since the beginning of agricultural development.  It is where two plant varieties within the same species cross pollinate and a new variety is created.  This process happens in the wild but people have found ways to “help” the plants along by cross pollinating in controlled environments to optimize specific plant traits.  In general, this is a completely natural process so it doesn’t adversely affect the environment or our food.

Genetically modified, often referred to as genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) are completely different.  GM varieties are created in laboratories using high-tech methodologies like gene splicing.  Scientists have discovered ways to cross multiple species of plants to create new ones – something that never happens in nature.  These new plants are created to fight against pests by having certain bacterias added to them or having specific traits that protect them against herbicide sprays, insect infestations and fungal disease.  You’ve probably heard of Monsanto’s Round-Up ready corn.  Industrial corn farmers can spray this GM corn with Round-Up and the corn is unaffected while every other plant in the field is killed.  Some GM seeds are protected by laws that do not allow them to even be analyzed by other scientists outside of the laboratories they are made in.  GMO’s are not long-term tested and we do not have any ideas of what their impact will be, although many of us have our suspicions.

On to wheat.  Here is where you can get completely lost.  Although the FDA has not approved GM wheat it somehow keeps appearing in fields everywhere, specifically GM wheat developed by Monsanto who denies releasing any of their seeds.  Hmmmmm

The easiest way to avoid any GM wheat is to only purchase heirloom or certified organic wheat.  Then if you are still concerned about it I would consider sprouting or soaking it before you use it.  Many studies have shown that sprouting and soaking increase the bioavailability of the nutrients within the wheat.  Sourdough, a fermented bread, is a perfect example of bread that is good for you unless you are diagnosed with some form of wheat allergy.

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Remember when eggs were terrible for you?  Nutritionists everywhere said we all had to give up eating eggs if we wanted to control our cholesterol.  Don’t even get me started on the butter debacle where we had to immediately stop eating butter or it would definitely kill us!  Margarine was the savior of the day and look what we have found out about margarine since then.  All this to say, I believe you should eat what comes naturally from the earth not what is cooked up in some science laboratory.  I don’t think bread is bad for you.  After all Jesus compared himself to bread when he said, “I am the bread of life.”  I don’t think he would have made the comparison if bread was something that would harm you.


Summers Acres: The HomeAcre Hop
(Linked to Small Footprint Friday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Hope In Every SeasonHome Acre Hop, and Tasty Traditions)

Q.  Ok, Provision Room, I have another food question: I have been hearing and reading so much lately about wheat being terrible for you because it has been genetically modified or hybridized. Do you know? Is there a form of wheat flour that can be purchased that is still good for you? We don’t mind […]

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What Shall I Bring?

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So your neighbor has come down with the flu and you want to take something over.

~What should you make?

Your friend’s mother is in the hospital and you want to ease her burden a bit.

~What is good to take over?

Your best friend just broke up with her boyfriend.  She needs a little cheering up.

~What can you whip up?

Your co-worker just got a great promotion!

~How can you celebrate?

Remember, we are to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.  But there are so many scenarios!  And not a one-size fits all meal to take over!  So, here are some of our best ideas and go-to foods when an opportunity to share food presents itself!

For the family at the hospital:

Let’s face it.  Hospital food is terrible.  It’s like school cafeteria food, only worse.  Anyone staying at the hospital, be they patient or family member keeping a vigil, would appreciate a little home cooking!

  • Try to think of something that might not need to be reheated.  Tabouli, Fattoush, or chicken salad are great.  Take along some pita or lavash and you have a delightful meal they can enjoy when they are ready, without trying to figure out how to warm it up.

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  • Or think of things that are self-contained that might not need cutlery and/or plates.  Small calzones, stuffed bread, a cheese platter (cheese, fruit, and cracker or baguette,) a good ol’ fashioned deli sandwich with some homemade potato salad or cole slaw.   All wonderful meals that cover the bases, but can be eaten without a big set up.

For the broken-hearted:

Comfort food people!  No weird stuff that feeds the body but not the soul.  This might take knowing them fairly well.  Someone’s comfort food might be a roast beef sandwich and someone else’s might be a fruit smoothie.  So, it can be tough.  But there are a few universally acknowledged comfort foods.

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  • Cheese.  Be it homemade mac-n-cheese, a pizza with extra cheese, or quiche, nothing says, “There, there…” like some mozzarella smothering a ridiculous carb.  Seriously.
  • Sweets.  Particularly chocolate.  I don’t know anyone who would turn down homemade chocolate chip cookies, pudding or cupcakes.
  • Hot beverage.  I, Daja, was particularly distraught one day.  Kristina came over and pulled two things out of her bag: a box of Earl Grey and a tin of Peppermint Hot Chocolate.  She didn’t try to solve my dilemma (at least not right away).  She simply said, “Tea or chocolate?”  Hot drinks somehow say “sympathy.”

What Shall I Bring?

For the one celebrating:

Again, not necessarily time for your healthiest-purest food.  Unless your friend is celebrating something like weight loss or new job at the gym.  In which case you probably should not show up with an ice cream sundae.  Otherwise, go with something to drink and great snack.

  • Bottle of bubbly (champagne or non-alcoholic) and cheese.
  • A special dessert.

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  • Favorite coffee drink and pastry.
  • Box of their favorite tea and basket of muffins or scones.

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For those who are under-the-weather or recovering from illness:

Here’s a little mix.  You want to speak comfort, but also health.  In the language of food, that means soup, I think.  Avoid bringing junk food as well as being too pushy with your food ideals.  For one (rather shameful) example: years ago my Dad had a small heart attack.  He didn’t stay overnight in the hospital.  They sent him home with medication and strict instructions to rest.  Some well-meaning, though misguided ladies from our church came over bringing him Pepsi, Twinkies, cakes, Hawaiian BBQ, etc.  Oh dear.  Don’t do that.  Instead, do this:

  • Homemade chicken or bean soup and a crusty homemade herb bread.

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  • Delicious hearty-casserole full of spicy stuff: like enchiladas or stuffed bell peppers.

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  • Stew with rolls and plenty of butter.
  • Fruit salads or big green salads (complete with bacon, cheese, eggs, and homemade dressing)
  • Homemade jello made with fresh fruit, juice and grass-fed gelatin.  Here’s the brand we like.

For peacemaking:

I’m convinced stepping into the kitchen to prepare peacemaking food softens the hearts on both sides of the argument.  First for the one who is preparing the food, there is time to think, it’s like a big breath of peace, an opportunity to pour love and forgiveness out.  And for the one receiving the food an opportunity to tangibly see the the love put into the food and heal.  This is the time to take a moment and prepare something healing for the body and the soul.  Don’t cut corners, make something that takes a little extra time, and fill that food with love and prayers of forgiveness.

  • I, Kristina, remember being at Daja’s one day after she and her husband had experienced some “intense fellowship” if you will.  After we had eaten our lunch, Daja began to prepare another meal.  When I asked what she was doing Daja said she wanted to do something special for her hubby as way to make peace.  So right there in the middle of the day Daja made her hubby’s favorite Buuz.  No easy task by my definition but one that showed her love to him.
  • For my guy, well, homemade cinnamon rolls, pecan pie, French onion soup, or a big ol’ steak are ways to offer peace.

The important thing to remember is to bring something that is special to them.  And if you can’t think of anything, chocolate is the universal food that says, I’m sorry.

For the family with a new baby:

I, Daja, have been on the receiving end of meals many times.  It has always been a HUGE blessing!  And I’ve learned a thing or two that I’ve tried to implement when I prepare meals for others.

  • Ask the family if they have any allergies or dislikes.
  • If you’re not the first one to bring a meal, ask them what they have been receiving.  Ask so that you don’t give the family a repeat of a meal they have already received.  (Roast chicken is great until you’ve eaten it three times in one week!)
  •  The purpose of bringing a postpartum meal isn’t to save the family money, but to lighten the task load.  Be sure to only bring food that needs to be heated up, nothing that requires work to put together!
  • If possible bring the meal in a container that you don’t need returned.  (Ordering take out and having it delivered to the family is a great option!  Make sure you include the tip when you pay and be sure to call the family letting them know when the food will arrive.)
  • Remember that you are not just making enough food for the mommy, but for her whole family.  Make more than enough.  If possible, bring one meal for now and one for her freezer for later.  Trust me, she’ll be very grateful!
  • Call the family earlier in the day or the day before.  Let them know you’ll be bringing the meal and confirm what time they want to eat.
  • Don’t forget to include the lovely little meal extras that turn eating into dining!  You might include some little appetizers, dessert, or a bottle of wine.

Food is a universal way to share hospitality.  Do it with an eager and loving heart and your food, no matter how simple, will feed body and soul.

(Linked to Titus 2 TuesdayA Little R&R, Allergy Free Wednesday, Wise Woman Link-UpWildcrafting WednesdayMaking Your Home Sing, Titus 2 Tuesday, Sharendipity Place,  Natural Living Link-Up and You’re Gonna Love It!)

So your neighbor has come down with the flu and you want to take something over. ~What should you make? Your friend’s mother is in the hospital and you want to ease her burden a bit. ~What is good to take over? Your best friend just broke up with her boyfriend.  She needs a little […]

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I Want To Homeschool….But, My Husband Thinks I’m Crazy

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Have you ever considered homeschooling, but….well, your husband (and maybe everyone else) thinks you’re just crazy?!?!?!

Well, today we are guest posting over at Cheeky Bums Blog on that very subject!

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Kristina’s daughters

Kristina shares candidly about how God planted in her heart the desire to homeschool, but that it took some prayer and convincing until she and her husband were on the same page.

Cheeky Bums

“I want to homeschool, but…my husband thinks I’m crazy!

I really have to laugh at that statement now.  You see I walked that journey with my husband.  I lived it.  It was one of only two times in our marriage that we have been on completely separate pages.

This is how it went.

I said, “I think we should homeschool.”

He said, “No.  I don’t think that’s a good idea.” 

And so we entered a six-month period of what I like to call ‘intense fellowship.'”

READ THE REST AT CHEEKY BUMS BLOG!

(Linked to Breaking The Rules HopFrom The FarmOne Sharendipity PlaceMaking Your Home Sing Hop,  Making A Happy Home,  Titus 2 Tuesday  Wise Woman Link-Up! and Creative HomeAcre Hop)

Have you ever considered homeschooling, but….well, your husband (and maybe everyone else) thinks you’re just crazy?!?!?! Well, today we are guest posting over at Cheeky Bums Blog on that very subject! Kristina shares candidly about how God planted in her heart the desire to homeschool, but that it took some prayer and convincing until she […]

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Happy Father’s Day!

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We don’t usually post on Sundays!  But, we just wanted to pop in and say HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!  We honor our Dads, Gabriel and Sterling and our husbands, Gana and Jordan!  We are so blessed to be surrounded by such strong, godly, excellent, creative, and handsome men!  🙂

Enjoy our favorite clips with that special Daddy in your life!

Laugh ’til you cry:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEbZrY0G9PI?rel=0]

The kids’ pick:

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What’s it like to be a Dad????

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBaFJHUZ6IA?rel=0]

(Linked to Eco Kids Tuesdays and Hope In Every Season)

We don’t usually post on Sundays!  But, we just wanted to pop in and say HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!  We honor our Dads, Gabriel and Sterling and our husbands, Gana and Jordan!  We are so blessed to be surrounded by such strong, godly, excellent, creative, and handsome men!  🙂 Enjoy our favorite clips with that special […]

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Preparing Thinkers

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Film Critique For Kids

A few years ago I noticed something about my children.  They like movies. ALL MOVIES.  Seriously.  Especially if it’s animated or cleverly marketed to them.  We don’t even watch TV ordinarily and don’t have cable.  But somehow they would know about every new movie that came out.  They would say how much they wanted to see it, quote lines from it, name characters, etc.  And I was completely in the dark!  So they started pointing out billboards or ads at the grocery store that highlighted the movie.  Oh media is a tricky thing!  It slips in everywhere!!!

And so often we’d rent the DVD when it came out.  My husband and I would sit there in disbelief about how stupid or poorly written or unoriginal the film was.  Yet, when it was over the kids would say, “Can we watch it again?!”  *shaking my head*  Disappointing parenting moment every single time.

It was then that we started talking about how we could teach our children to be better consumers of media.  How could we help them to THINK about what they see and hear and not just swallow everything that is colorful, loud, musical or over-marketed?  You know, whether you feel you consume a lot of media or hardly any at all, the fact that you are reading this goes to show that we all consume more media than our parents and grandparents did!  We can try to protect our children from what we feel is vile–or just plain stupid.  After all, we keep them from junk food for their bodies, we want to keep them from junk food for their brains, too!  But they will not always be sitting right next to us where we can monitor everything they watch (or eat!).  Sometimes they will be at a friend’s house, Grandma’s house, school, youth group, or let’s face it, the grocery store!  The more my husband and I talked about these things the more we became aware that our children needed to develop their own filters.  And they needed a better foundation than the one they currently had.

I started looking for a curriculum for my children.  I looked online and in bookstores.  I even asked my friends who have been through acting and film school.  I could find nothing that fit the bill.  Usually these concepts are not taught until high school or college.  As it usually works with us, when we can’t find what we want, we have to create it ourselves!

Thus, Film Critique For Kids was born.  It’s a curriculum designed for grade school students (but could certainly work through Junior High as well!) that teaches the fundamental elements of literary critique.  It is broken down into six sections.  In each section there is a family friendly film to view, a concept to learn (setting, theme, plot, conflict, etc.), and relevant assignments that guide the student into thinking about and dissecting the film, story, and message.  In addition, there are Scriptures to examine and a study in discernment.  We also include a few pages just for fun–activities that go along with the movie.

The films come from a variety of genres from animation to musicals to classics to current blockbusters, chosen with the express goal of broadening the child’s literary tastes and experiences.  No more writing off a film just because it’s black-and-white or doesn’t have a matching plush toy.

We tried out our book with our little co-op of four home school families.  It was a great success!  The children loved it.  They were stretched and learned to not just sit entertained, but to engage with media and think about each film from various perspectives.

Now that our children have been our guinea pigs, we are offering this curriculum for sale as an ebook!  It would be an excellent addition to your home school plans for next year–either with just your family or with a small group/co-op.  Also would be a fun Summer film series as well!  We had the best time last year projecting movies outdoors and watching with friends!

(Free sample chapter? Click here.)

Hugo under the stars.

Hugo under the stars.

 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.

Proverbs 18:15

Would you like a free sample chapter?  Click here.

Ready to purchase?  Click here for our Books and Resources Market.  It is currently available in ebook format, emailed directly to you as a PDF.

NOTE: Our curriculum is fully aligned with: our theology, our convictions about home education, and with what we think are the most important things to pass on to our children.  It is certainly NOT aligned with any Common Core Standards.

(Linked to Hope In Every SeasonFabulously Frugal ThursdayBreaking The Rules PartyHearts For Home HopA Lovely Blog HopThink Tank ThursdayOne Sharendipity Place Pin It MondayMaking Your Home SingMotivation MondayManic MondayMostly Homemade MondayCreative HomeAcre HopYou’re Gonna Love It,  Eco Kids TuesdaysA Little R&RRock-N-ShareWise Woman Link-Up! and Making A Happy Home)

A few years ago I noticed something about my children.  They like movies. ALL MOVIES.  Seriously.  Especially if it’s animated or cleverly marketed to them.  We don’t even watch TV ordinarily and don’t have cable.  But somehow they would know about every new movie that came out.  They would say how much they wanted to […]

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A Candle In The Window, an interview with Theresa Bowen

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Last Summer at The Reformation of Food and The Family Conference in San Antonio, Texas we were blessed to meet a very inspirational lady, Theresa Bowen.  Along with her family she has started A Candle In The Window Hospitality Network.  As we’ve been focusing a lot lately, both personally and on this blog, about hospitality, we could think of no better person to share a vision for Biblical hospitality than Theresa.  Pour yourself a cup of tea (iced if it is as warm where you live as it is here in Southern California!) and get ready to be challenged and inspired to open up your heart and home to others!

Theresa Bowen

The Bowen Family

Provision Room:  We are so please to introduce you to our readers.  Can you please share a bit about yourself and your family.

Theresa Bowen: Hi there! We are the Bowen family from northeast Florida: Craig, a pastor, Theresa, a homemaker and homeschool mom, five children ranging in age from second grade through college, and Nana, Theresa’s mom, a retired school teacher and a special blessing in our lives.

As we leaf back through our guest book, we are reminded of visitors from about half the states in our nation and missionaries or nationals from some eighteen countries, representing five continents, many of whom we had never met until they “came through” and stayed with us. There are sweet memories of times with family and friends as well… special celebrations and spur of the minute pot lucks, church gatherings and neighborhood get-togethers, reunions and “Little House” dinners. We see these guests as “divine appointments”, living, breathing answers to the prayer, “Lord, bring whom You will.” Believe me, there is nothing extraordinary about our home or family, apart from our availability and our desire to share what God has given us with those whom He brings. Might God be calling you to offer up a similar prayer?

If so, we invite you to join us at A Candle in the Window Hospitality Network. Beyond being a great way to stretch your traveling dollar, we believe that opening your home to others, and visiting in theirs as well, will be a tremendous blessing in your life. As God engineers your path, we pray that new friendships might be forged and the stories of God’s faithfulness recounted around countless dinner tables.

A Candle In The Window Hospitality Network

PR: Tell us about A Candle In the Window Network, what it is and how it got started.

TB: A Candle in the Window Hospitality Network is a growing online, worldwide network of Christian households delighting in hospitality (As of this writing in May of 2013, we have around 430 members in 63 different countries). It is really an overflow of the blessing that hospitality has been in our own home throughout the years and our hope is to multiply that blessing in the homes of others as our members travel, share a meal and open up their own homes to one another. We had been on various mission’s hospitality rosters and often wished there were something similar for the body of Christ in general. We thought and prayed about how we might facilitate something like this for years before launching in the fall of 2011.

Our mission is to provide an ever expanding online, worldwide database to our members, and a secure communication network through which to contact potential hosts to set up a conversational dinner and/or an overnight stay when traveling through or to their location.

With household budgets becoming more and more strained, travel can be a challenge! A Candle in the Window Hospitality Network provides a creative, economical alternative. And while the thought of saving money, especially in a struggling economy, is extremely appealing, we strongly believe the greater blessing will be in the fellowship and relationships established as others “come through” our homes, sharing God’s faithfulness in their lives and we have the opportunity to do the same.

PR: How do you see hospitality in the Scriptures?

TB: Perhaps you agree that hospitality is a great thing… in theory, but deep down, you still believe the lies: my home isn’t big enough, or nice enough, or _______enough (fill in the blank); or my children are too young, or too many, or too _______; or we are just plain too busy. In other words, hospitality is great for some people, but not for us, at least not now…

You might be surprised to learn that in Scripture, hospitality is not an option or a preference, it is a command. In Romans 12:13, Paul writes that we are to “practice hospitality”, literally, the “love of strangers”. Commenting on this verse, Alexander Strauch in his Hospitality Commands, notes that the word “practice” here is the Greek word “dioko”, which is “better rendered ‘strive for’ or ‘pursue’.  Thus we are to actively pursue, promote, and aspire to hospitality. We are to think about it, plan for it, prepare for it, pray about it, and seek opportunities to do it. In short, the Romans 12 passage teaches that all Christians are to pursue the “practice of hospitality.”

This is further reinforced by the fact that being “hospitable” is one of the requirements for church leadership (I Tim 3:2), as well as one of the qualifiers used in the New Testament to determine whether or not a widow was worthy of eventual Church support (I Tim 5:10).

So we see that hospitality, in some shape or form, is commanded of all, expected of church leadership, and a fruit of godly womanhood.

Hospitality
And consider these and other examples wherein hospitality was tied to God’s message: the homes of Abraham (Genesis 18); Rebekah (Genesis 24); Rahab, the harlot (Joshua 2:1-14); the widow whose flour and oil never ran out (I Kings 17:8-16); the Shunnamite woman (2 Kings 4:8-17); Zaccheus (Luke 19:1-9); Matthew, the tax collector (Mark 2:15-17); the townspeople, to whom Jesus sent out the seventy (Luke 10:1-16); Martha (Luke 10:38-42); the Early Church members (Acts 2:47-47); Simon, the tanner (Acts 10:5-23); Cornelius (Acts 10: 24-48); Lydia (Acts 16:14-15); the Philippian jailer (Acts 16: 22-34); Aquilla and Priscilla (Acts 18:2-3,24-26); Philemon (Philemon 22); and Gaius (3 John 5-8); and how about those believers who have “entertained angels unaware”?

PR: Certainly the Biblical examples are astounding!  And what about today?  Who is your personal example and inspiration for hospitality? Is there a particular woman who has really inspired you to hospitality?

TB: Actually two women have influenced me greatly (primarily through their writings): Elisabeth Elliot and Edith Schaeffer.

As a young woman, I took a summer school course on Biblical Femininity with Elisabeth Elliot. She shared a great deal about her parents and the home she grew up in. She later expounded these thoughts in her wonderful book, The Shaping of a Christian Family.

Quoting her father, Phillip Howard, she wrote, “The presence of Christian friends or even strangers—unless they are eccentric, self-centered, and thoughtless—should brighten the home and enlarge its outlook, as the guests tell how the Lord has led them through the trials of life and of work they are doing for Him. It is a good thing for a family to be jolted out of its routine, and to look beyond the four walls of its own home and the weekly routines of its business, school and church.”

Elisabeth Elliot

Elisabeth Elliot

Elliot, herself, continues, “My parents saw the entertaining of God’s people as a great privilege and blessing to the family, so no matter what the economic condition, they contrived somehow to have a guest room set apart and always ready… [They] knew how important it was for us children to meet Christian men and women from all walks of life, to hear firsthand their stories of the faithfulness of God, and to enjoy the privilege of asking them questions… When we had guests, which was often, my father was keenly interested in them and always tried to draw out as much as possible about their lives and work. The impression these stories made on us was deep and lasting.”

Edith Schaeffer, as well, especially through her books The Hidden Art of Homemaking and The Tapestry, greatly inspires me! God used the open home of Francis and Edith Schaeffer to launch an outreach that came to be known as L’Abri, “The Shelter”, in the Swiss Alps. Through the Schaeffer family’s faithful hospitality, L’Abri became a mecca for thousands of postmodern intellectuals seeking “enlightenment.” Lively table conversation, the Scriptures expounded by the warmth of the fireside, and daily family routines were used to direct all who came to the God of the Bible. I remember reading that “as many people were brought to the Lord through Mrs. Schaeffer’s cinnamon buns as through Dr. Schaeffer’s sermons” And while not meant as a theological treatise, I think it speaks to the power of hospitality in our sharing of the gospel.

Edith Schaeffer

Edith Schaeffer

PR: That’s beautiful.  I think I need to go do some baking.  So many people are really intimidated by having people over.  Perhaps because of all the books and TV shows on entertaining.  We set the bar really high sometimes.  Do you see a difference between hospitality and entertaining?  If so, can you explain the difference and ease our minds!

TB: It is important to define Biblical hospitality—what it is and isn’t! The American Heritage Dictionary defines “hospitality” as “welcoming guests with warmth; a fondness for entertaining,” but we believe Biblical hospitality goes much farther than a mere “fondness for entertaining”!  It seeks to serve, to share what God has entrusted to us with those whom He brings.

You don’t have to be Martha Stewart, or have a large home to practice true, Biblical hospitality. Beyond being a command in Scripture (Romans 12:13), a heart for hospitality reflects the heart of God. We open our doors and we open our hearts and lives, offering refuge and refreshment in Christ’s name. We invite people in to see us as we really are, in all our weakness and dependence upon God–not to “impress” them.  Our preparations are merely a tangible means of expressing, “I want this to be special because you are special! You are precious to God and you matter to me!”

Think back to some of the places you have felt most loved, most welcomed.  Memories such as these have very little to do with “entertaining”. There is little recollection of what was served or on what plate. In the end, however, it is not the preparations—nor the lack thereof—that we remember. It is the touch of God … not always, but often. Because of an open heart, an open home, a plate of something, a candle’s glow or a quiet word, God somehow chooses to draw us closer to Himself and to one another. That is Biblical hospitality.

PR: Just hearing you explain it makes me want to come to your table and experience that candle’s glow and God’s touch!  We can’t do that through the computer, unfortunately.  So, could you let us in on some of the Bowen family secrets.  Can you share a go-to recipe or brilliant tip to inspire us and make our guests feel special?

TB: First of all, I want to stress that there is nothing extraordinary about our home and family… as we have endeavored to make ourselves available, it is God who has engineered folks to us. That said, there are a few things that I try to suggest when encouraging hospitality:

1) Don’t wait for things to be perfect!  Go ahead and begin practicing hospitality right where you are. Don’t wait for your dream house or for your children to grow up—it is a blessing to grow up with company. Of course, it may look different in different seasons, but hospitality is not for adults only. Opening your home to others is a wonderful education for children. Practice “having company” with little ones and you might be surprised to find them sitting long around the table with you and your friends as they enter the teen and young adult years. Include them in your preparations. We would not be able to do half of what we do without our children’s help… Not surprising, they are the ones that now light the candles before guests arrive, or spritz some fragrance in the bath or guestroom.  They learn by watching, then doing alongside and then doing themselves.

And hospitality doesn’t always have to mean opening your home, it can also mean opening your front porch, your backyard, your campfire, your local park’s picnic table, or a corner in a local restaurant. Be creative!!! It might mean packing a basket and heading out for your neighbor’s home or campfire, and receiving that which is offered with thankfulness and grace. Biblical hospitality can happen in any place that allows you to open your heart and lives to others. And through these simple acts, God is glorified.

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2) Fit it in with what you are already doing. One thing that we enjoy doing is combining hospitality with whatever we are learning in school or church. For example, the year we read the Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House Books, we would have dinner at the end of each book, dress up and eat whatever they would have eaten in that particular book and invite another family over to join us. We did the same with a Medieval Feast when studying the Middle Ages, and Passover when studying the Exodus. We’ve had Swamp Fox Parties, Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett dinners and we’ve included believers and unbelievers.

3) Be grace oriented. In sharing our vision for A Candle in the Window Hospitality Network, we like to stress that despite our many differences, as brothers and sisters in Christ, we are one. Be gracious when your host or guests do things a little differently than you do. Consider hospitality, especially to “Christian” strangers to be a little taste of heaven where we will join the throngs from every tribe and nation throughout the ages. Each unique, but all one, in Christ alone.

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As for special recipes… I usually choose simple over gourmet. I try to plan things that allow me to be with my guests rather than cooking once they arrive… A ham in the oven, with green beans on the stove and potato salad can be ready ahead of time. As an alternative, when I do need to prepare when guests are over, I often invite one of them to join me in the kitchen and we fellowship while preparing together. I also try to keep some soup base/mixes (Bear Creek is our favorite) on hand that can be made quickly on the spur of the minute by adding water and “doctoring up” with whatever else is on hand. I also keep brownie mix in the pantry and the kids will often mix up while we are visiting and the aroma is wonderful. Also, when people offer to bring something, I usually accept! Many of our meals are covered dishes in which everyone brings something.

One thing I do try is to serve whatever I make in an attractive and creative way.  Taking the time to put jelly in a dish instead of the jar, a simple candle or blossom or a branch from the yard, seasonal emphases, etc. Early in our marriage, a teenager was over visiting and I remember as we were preparing breakfast, she made the comment, “My mom never puts the jar out on the table, she always makes it special, even just for us”. That comment has stuck with me all these years! And now I find my own children preparing special teas and beautiful trays of goodies when their friends come over!

For overnight guests, a fresh clean bed and access to a bathroom and towels is adequate. Beyond that, there are little touches that make our guests feel special–a simple bud in a vase, a treasure trove of good books (or pull a few that you know would interest them) and quiet music are extra blessings. My friend, Judy, is one of the most hospitable people I have ever known. It is little touches such as these that make me feel so loved whenever I am in her home, but more than these, a genuine welcome and interest in others will most effectively communicate a hospitable heart.

PR: Can you share a testimony or two from A Candle In The Window?  How have people’s lives been affected?

TB: We often receive emails from members sharing their experiences. This is one of my favorite things–to know that our vision is being realized in others’ homes around the world! We post many of these on the website under “Member Stories”.  Here are a few:

A Dutch family traveled throughout the states last summer and stayed with 8 different “Candle in the Window” families. We received one note from a family in NY who especially enjoyed their visit as the wife’s ancestors were Dutch. The cookbook they left as a gift contained many recipes that the host remembered from her own childhood.

Another member from Colorado, a filmmaker and minister of the gospel, stopped over in England with another member on his way to preach in India. As a result, they are considering his returning to help host a European Christian Film Camp.

And one of my favorites… one large family had hosted a family through a Candle In the Window and then didn’t receive any more requests for quite awhile. Her little children began to ask, “Aren’t any more candles coming???” to which the mom replied, “We can pray and ask God to send someone”. And when they checked their inbox, there was another request!

We are also receiving more and more international homeschooling families! It is a deep desire for us to help network these members with one another for fellowship and support within their own countries.

PR: Thank you, Theresa for sharing your experiences and opening up your heart to readers of The Provision Room!  

Bowen Family

If you would like to know more about A Candle In The Window, we encourage you to check out the website or visit them on Facebook!  You will be blessed!  Most of all, we hope that you will allow the Lord to lead you into greater measures of hospitality, sharing your lives with strangers and letting your light shine in a world that needs it so desperately!

(Linked to Fabulously Frugal ThursdaysBloom DesignsFrom The Farm,  Small Footprint FridaySharendipity Place Pin It MondayMotivation Monday Making Your Home Sing,  You’re Gonna Love It! Backyard Farming Connection #35 Titus 2 TuesdayWise Woman Link-Up!  Tasty Traditions and Creative HomeAcre Hop)

Last Summer at The Reformation of Food and The Family Conference in San Antonio, Texas we were blessed to meet a very inspirational lady, Theresa Bowen.  Along with her family she has started A Candle In The Window Hospitality Network.  As we’ve been focusing a lot lately, both personally and on this blog, about hospitality, […]

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Veggie Tasting Party Winners!

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Sorry to keep you all in such suspense!  We have reviewed the scores and are ready to announce the winners of our Veggie Tasting Party!!!!

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For those just joining us, back in April we were asked by a reader, ““Would you write a series about vegetables? A ‘How to cook them so people will eat them’ type of series.”  

Rather than just answering with our families’ recipes, we put the question to all of you!  Throughout the month of April y’all submitted your very own, family-tested-and-loved, favorite veg forward recipes.  Our agreement was that we would cook them all, have our husbands, children, and friends taste and judge in a blind taste-test.  You were so generous with your culinary delights that we had one day, in fact, just a few hours, actually, to cook 26 veggie recipes!  Everything from Brussels Sprouts to Turnips!  From Tomatoes to Carrots!  From Kale to Okra!  Add a few bottles of lovely wine and a some locally brewed beer and we had a true foodie party on our hands!

It took two tables to hold everything!

It took two tables to hold everything!

But what fun!  You can see more pictures of the food and mayhem here: Food Revolution Day Tasting Party!

From the 26 recipes we have chosen the 10 that were rated the yummiest by our panel of critics.  (And let me tell you, you don’t know a food critic until you’ve met our children.  Ever heard a child say, “This would be perfect it was baked off, instead of steamed and if you added a bit of acid, like maybe a balsamic reduction.”)  These 10 will be included in a Veggie Cookbook to be released next month!  Along with those 10 we are going to add 10 Provision Room fool-proof favorites, for a Veggie Cookbook for real people! You’re gonna love it!

WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, HERE ARE THE WINNERS:

Kale Chips, submitted by Rebecca of Food, Laughter and Love

Fresh Ginger Roasted Yams, submitted by Karen of Only Sometimes Clever

Summer Salsa, submitted by Jada of Jada Swanson

Creamy Lemon-Honey Slaw, submitted by Karen of Only Sometimes Clever

Roasted Brussels Sprouts, submitted by Barb at SFO Mom

Roasted Vegetables, submitted by Sara at June Cleaver In Yoga Pants

Tomato Confit, submitted by Karen of Only Sometimes Clever

Vegan Ceviche, submitted by Nadia

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and Blue Cheese, submitted by Jada of Jada Swanson

and finally, in what perhaps was the biggest surprise hit of the night:

Baked Okra, submitted by Rebecca of Food, Laughter and Love

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!  For contributing to our cookbook (and to a very successful FOOD REVOLUTION DAY!) you will receive a FREE copy of the cookbook when it is released and full credit in the book, along with links to your blog or website!  THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!

Cooking away!

Daja, our good friend KayLee, and Kristina

(Linked to Tasty Traditions, Fantastic Thursdays at Five Little Chefs, and Homemaking Party at Hope In Every Season and Small Footprint Fridays)

Sorry to keep you all in such suspense!  We have reviewed the scores and are ready to announce the winners of our Veggie Tasting Party!!!! For those just joining us, back in April we were asked by a reader, ““Would you write a series about vegetables? A ‘How to cook them so people will eat […]

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Kicking off Summer! A list of helpful links!

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Kristina's daughter and Daja's daughter eating seaweed (not the kind that washed up on the shore) on the beach.

Kristina’s daughter and Daja’s daughter eating seaweed (not the kind that washed up on the shore) on the beach.

 

Memorial Day is considered the unofficial start of Summer!  And the weather around here, at least, certainly confirms that!  To get your Summer started off right, here are some of our best posts for your Summer enjoyment!

1. Need some creative, affordable and fun ideas for the family this summer?  Try our To-Do List from last summer!  This Summer our To-Do list is much shorter.  In fact, Daja’s list only has one thing: Have a baby.

Meg

2. Summer is the perfect time to amp up your hospitality!  Sharing food, fun, and memories with guests in the backyard, at the beach, at the park, or camping.  Outdoor “entertaining” is the way to go!

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3. If all that outdoor hospitality has you turned into a buffet for mosquitoes, consider whipping up some of our easy, safe, and effective NATURAL BUG REPELLENT!  There are tips there, too, on treating the bites if you already have them!

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4. Traveling a bit or a lot this Summer?  We dare you to make it a Fast Food Free Summer!  We have a PDF that you can download, print, and share with others!  Also, check out these TIPS FOR AVOIDING THE FAST FOOD TRAP!  It can be done and it’s easier than you think!  Last year we took a long road trip from Los Angeles to San Antonio, Texas and didn’t resort to fast food even once!

FFF Challenge

5. We live Summer by a simple motto: Never left a good picnic go un-picnicked.  We are firm believers in the power of a picnic.  To help you, we have two links: Prepared For A Picnic and Your Car Picnic Basket.  A picnic is one of the happiest of everyday “Life Happenings”!

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Have a beautiful, memorable, fun, blessed, and cool summer!

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

(Linked to Titus 2 TuesdaysBackyard Farming Connection Hop A Little R & R, Homemaking Party at Hope In Every Season, Tasty Traditions, Fantastic Thursdays at Five Little Chefs,  Fabulously Frugal Thursdays and Sharendipity Place)

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  Memorial Day is considered the unofficial start of Summer!  And the weather around here, at least, certainly confirms that!  To get your Summer started off right, here are some of our best posts for your Summer enjoyment! 1. Need some creative, affordable and fun ideas for the family this summer?  Try our To-Do List […]