Posts Tagged ‘Hospitality’

15

Hospitality Inheritance

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“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach…”  1 Timothy 3:2 KJV

I was laughing with some friends recently as we compared stories of how our parents and spouses showed hospitality.  It made me realize just how much my parents’ very different approaches to loving people has shaped my own theology of hospitality.

Hospitality Inheritance

My parents in 1973.

When my parents were first married my dear mother was faced with the reality that my father loved people.  He’s the kind of person who has never met a stranger.  Extrovert is an understatement.   Read More

Dorothy and Gabe

“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach…”  1 Timothy 3:2 KJV I was laughing with some friends recently as we compared stories of how our parents and spouses showed hospitality.  It made me realize just how much my parents’ very […]

19

Feed The People, Ask Questions Later

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I was bustling around the kitchen.  Rice about finished in the rice cooker.  Banana bread cooling on the counter.  Meatloaf in the oven.  Salad being tossed.  What else do I need?  Oh yes, a bottle of wine.  And what’s for dessert?

My kids asked if I was making dinner early.  After all, it was only 2pm.  No, baby, we are taking food to Mr. and Mrs. X.

Why, Mom?

Children, if you learn one thing from me, let it be this: If you know someone who is rejoicing or mourning, show up with food.  

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Romans 12:15

My friend, who we call The Kitchen Madonna, says, “Feed the people.  Ask questions later.”

Feed The People, Ask Questions Later

Truth be told, I have found it a bit dismaying to see this civility become a lost art in our culture.  In the last few years I have attended my share of funerals and been at the bedside of several loved ones who were making that journey between this life and the Next.  I am also a doula and have been there with many women as they bring new life into the world.  In both those cases I have seen people come visit to say their good-byes or their hellos and bring nothing.  There have been time that there were no covered dishes, no cookies, not even take-out pizza.

The one birthing or dying or their intimate loved ones have been distracted, saying, “Can I get you something to eat?”  Wait a second!  Who should be feeding whom?  Oh dear.  What has happened to our society.

Can we revive this lost art?  Will you join me?

Hear some news that your neighbor had a baby?  Show up with a casserole.

Mommy in your church have a houseful of children with the chicken pox?  Some homemade biscotti and a box of special tea will be perfect!

A co-worker out with the flu? Homemade chicken soup does the trick every single time.

Your great aunt passed away?  Take your uncle a meatloaf and mashed potatoes, portioned out so that he doesn’t have to worry about meals for a few days.

Think of the immense good, the eternal value that exists in a basket of muffins, a pot of tea, a macaroni-and-cheese with smoked bacon.

“There are times when the food we share is a sign of connection and acceptance, times such as weddings, funerals, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, family reunions, and religious professions.  At these events food is a sign of unity and singleness of purpose.  In Latin, the word companion literally means to ‘break bread’ together.  No wonder the Eucharist has such power.  It is founded in our food experience, and our earliest experience of that is associated with warmth and touching.  Food is powerful.  It says ‘You belong here.’  It comforts.”  (Radical Hospitality, St. Benedict’s Way of Love by Homan and Pratt)

Perhaps you don’t know where to start or you feel awkward about walking across the street with a jello-mold.  You don’t live in Mayberry.

It really is easier than you think and I guarantee no one will turn you away.

  • If you can, let the recipient know the food is on the way.  I don’t usually ask; I tell.  The giving and receiving of food is such a lost art that people will often say no simply because they haven’t learned to receive.  So, I usually say something like, “I have made you a casserole.  Is 4pm a good time to drop it off?”
  • If you don’t have time to make a full meal, do not worry.  A plate of brownies, a basket of fruit, some delicious sandwiches, etc. will convey your heart just the same!
  • If you do have time to make a full meal, try to include those little extras that make it special.  Don’t stop at the main course.  Include the salad, dressing, dessert, after dinner mints, and a bottle of wine or sparkling cider.
  • Take your offering in a container that you don’t need returned.  Whether they are rejoicing or weeping one thing you don’t want to do is burden them with a dish that you’d be sad if they lost or broke.  Make sure you express to them that you want them to keep the containers.
  • If you don’t know them well, try to stay away from common allergens such as nuts and shellfish.  Or else call ahead and ask if they have any food aversions.
  • Also, try to stay away from things people commonly dislike.  Oh, foodies like us can forget that not everyone rejoices over a jar of pâté.  Spicy foods, organ meats, fishy fish, etc.  In cases like this, the point of the food is to convey love, support, comfort, and rejoicing–not to be a lesson in nutrition.
  • If you are taking your food to a hospital, nursing home, or anywhere away from their actual home, provide the forks, napkins and plates so that they can partake immediately.
  • If I’m bringing over multiple containers of food, I usually include a note with the menu listed and explained.
  • If you are accustomed to stocking your freezer with prepared meals, it can be a lovely gift to give someone a complete meal that they can enjoy now or keep in their freezer for a day they really need it.  Having those prepared meals on hand makes doing this very easy.

Feed The People, Ask Questions Later

Two years ago when my dear grandfather passed away, I showed up at my parents house (which is where he lived) and I started cooking.  Relatives from all over began to arrive.  Arrive and eat.  Nothing like sitting down over roast chicken and homemade bread and reminiscing about the past.  In preparation for the funeral I began to prepare antipasti, garlic bread, layered salads, baked ziti, cheesecakes.  Ladies from my parents’ church helped with prep and made dozens of cookies.  Some well-meaning relatives asked why I was doing so much and suggested that I just go to Costco and purchase some deli trays.  I smiled kindly and said, “Because that’s not how I roll.”

It was an act of love for my Grandpa whom I love and miss dearly (he loved to eat), for my Grandma, and for my Mom.  And, to be honest, it was something I did for myself.  I needed some good comfort food and cooking is therapeutic for me.  Not that it would be wrong to purchase food. But, just imagine if we didn’t have to.  Imagine if people came together and shared food again.

Feta Olive Tarts

Feta Olive Tarts

When you take someone food–especially food you prepared yourself–you are sharing yourself with them.  Food has a way of bringing people together.  Diners let their guards down over the appetizer.  Over the main course cares ease and the mind starts to be refreshed.  Over dessert and coffee people bond and heal and share their lives.  Sometimes it feels as if one had the right menu we could reconcile the world.

 “I sometimes think the chef end of cooking is not the real end of cooking.  Cooking is all about homes and gardens, it doesn’t happen in restaurants.”  –Delia Smith

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Yum!

I was bustling around the kitchen.  Rice about finished in the rice cooker.  Banana bread cooling on the counter.  Meatloaf in the oven.  Salad being tossed.  What else do I need?  Oh yes, a bottle of wine.  And what’s for dessert? My kids asked if I was making dinner early.  After all, it was only […]

18

Hospitality of the Table – He Prepares A Table Before Me

Blog | Hospitality 18 Comments

He Prepares A Table

Do you set the table for meals?  Do you all sit down together with tablecloth, cutlery, perhaps candles?

If you’re a busy mom of little ones you might be thinking, “What would be the point?!”  Some days it feels like more than enough just to get them all fed. Read More

He Prepares A Table

Do you set the table for meals?  Do you all sit down together with tablecloth, cutlery, perhaps candles? If you’re a busy mom of little ones you might be thinking, “What would be the point?!”  Some days it feels like more than enough just to get them all fed.

4

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!

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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, […]

16

The Hospitality File

Hospitality 16 Comments

Hospitality is a gift.  But, unlike other spiritual gifts, it’s not a gift you have.  It’s a gift you give.

Hospitality is all about opening up your heart to another, putting others first, finding practical ways of demonstrating the love and acceptance of the Lord.

Years ago I stumbled upon a simple little tool that makes showing hospitality a wee bit easier.  It’s my hospitality file.

Hospitality File Read More

Hospitality File

Hospitality is a gift.  But, unlike other spiritual gifts, it’s not a gift you have.  It’s a gift you give. Hospitality is all about opening up your heart to another, putting others first, finding practical ways of demonstrating the love and acceptance of the Lord. Years ago I stumbled upon a simple little tool that […]

15

Entertaining or Hospitality?

Blog | Hospitality 15 Comments
Daily Dish Magazine         YOUR BLOG NAME

Have you ever thought about it, I mean really thought about the difference between entertaining and hospitality?  It’s interesting these two words.  When I think of entertaining my husband’s colleagues I imagine something very different than when I think about hosting our close friends for dinner.  When I’m entertaining I lean towards perfectionism.  I want to impress our guests.  When I’m hosting my best friend I’m not as concerned about the laundry still needing folding on the couch.  You know what I mean?  Let’s take a look at the definitions of these two words as they are found in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Read More

IMG_5966

          Have you ever thought about it, I mean really thought about the difference between entertaining and hospitality?  It’s interesting these two words.  When I think of entertaining my husband’s colleagues I imagine something very different than when I think about hosting our close friends for dinner.  When I’m entertaining I […]

23

Hospitality – Upcycled Kitchen Island

Hospitality 23 Comments

The kitchen is the heart of the home and by definition should be the most well thought out area of your home.  After all, you spend most a lot of your time in this room and it is where you do some of your most important work nourishing body and soul.  It is a warm gathering place for family and friends.

As we focus on hospitality this month, I thought it would be fun to share with you a recent project completed by my family.  I really wanted some extra storage space in my kitchen and while watching television one evening, hubs and I saw the niftiest idea for creating a kitchen island.  What do you think? Read More

The kitchen is the heart of the home and by definition should be the most well thought out area of your home.  After all, you spend most a lot of your time in this room and it is where you do some of your most important work nourishing body and soul.  It is a warm […]

0

Outdoor Entertaining

Uncategorized No Comments

I guess you can say I’m a California girl through-and-through.  I don’t think anything quite tops a gathering of friends or family outside.  Something about sitting there in the sunshine or the shade or around a bonfire that makes me never want to go inside.  And let’s face it, in a lot of ways, showing hospitality outdoors solves a lot of logistical problems.

Common excuses reasons people give for not showing hospitality is that their house is too small, they don’t have enough chairs, their house is too unorganized/messy/under construction, their house doesn’t have air-conditioning, and [fill in the blank].  Well, the answer to all of those is to take the party outside!  If you have a yard, that’s great!  If not, you can show hospitality at the park, the beach, or even a tailgate party in a parking lot!  You are only limited by your imagination!

Here are some tips for making outdoor entertaining easier and stress-free!

1. Prepare a backyard picnic basket ahead of time.  We have detailed instructions here: Prepared For A Picnic.  Simply put, the basket or tote should be fully stocked with everything you need from plates to salt-n-pepper to citronella candles to keep the bugs away. Then when it is time to grill outside, you don’t have to take a dozen trips inside for things like forgotten napkins, forks, or matches.  Everything you need is ready!

Backyard Picnic Basket

2. Also prepare a car picnic basket!  This way, if you are out and about and feel like an impromptu picnic, you don’t need to resort to fast food.  A quick stop at the market and you are ready to go!  And whether you believe it or not, going to the store and buying REAL FOOD is actually cheaper and quicker than the drive-thru!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-D-S437AHfs?rel=0]

3. You needn’t have chairs or benches for everyone.  Nothing is cozier than quilts and blankets on the lawn!  Keep your eye out at thrift stores and stock up on two or three big blankets that are reserved just for outdoor entertaining!

Outdoor Entertaining

4.  Mosquitoes?  If you live in a place where the only thing that can ruin a picnic is becoming the picnic, plan ahead!  I always have a little basket of natural bug repellent for people to use.  We also light lots of citronella candles and Tiki torches so that everyone can stay comfortable.

Outdoor entertaining

5. Let’s be honest.  Sometimes it can get expensive to have guests.  If your food budget is already tight the idea of inviting others over for a BBQ can be financially challenging!  Here are some ideas:

No one minds a potluck!  If you say, “Hey we have hot dogs to put on the grill.  Can you bring a salad?” you can stay within budget and everyone has a great time.

When someone asks, “What can I bring?” do not hesitate to ask them to bring the dessert, the wine, the bread, etc.  Of course there are times when you want to just bless someone and do all the preparations and carry the expense.  That is great.  But, don’t worry if that doesn’t happen every time!

Keep it simple!  People are not coming over for a gourmet meal.  They are coming for the fellowship!

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6. Perhaps you don’t feel up to cooking for company.  You’re fine throwing together something for your family, but you get nervous cooking for others.  You’re not alone!  I think a lot of people feel that way.  Cooking can feel really personal sometimes. Keep in mind that, especially when you eat outdoors, the simplest foods are the often the tastiest!  Here are some simple meal ideas:

Sandwich

A peasant lunch or supper:

  • Several kinds of cheeses
  • Some sliced fruit
  • Some nuts and olives
  • Artisan bread
  • A bottle of wine

A salad bar: (This can be a great idea if you have invited people with food allergies such as gluten or dairy intolerance.)

  • A big bowl of mixed greens
  • A few different dressing options
  • Sliced veggies and fruits
  • A few protein choices such as cubed cheese, crumbled bacon or sliced boiled eggs
  • Fresh baguettes
  • Fresh lemonade

A panini or grilled cheese bar: Let people build their own sandwiches and do them up on the grill!

  • A few options for bread, pre-sliced
  • A few options for cheese (jack, mozzarella, brie)
  • A few options for meat (bacon, turkey, tuna)
  • A few options fruits and vegetables (apples, pears, cranberries, tomatoes, lettuce, onions)
  • A few bottles of local beer

7. Think outside of dinner!  How about a brunch on the patio?  How about lunch at the park?  How about an ice cream social after dinner?  Think of a little bonfire and s’mores!  Showing hospitality at one of these “lesser” meal or snack times can really take the pressure off!

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Most of all, keep in mind, that hospitality is not about the food, the location, or the weather.  Hospitality is about opening up your heart to others.  It’s about taking a moment to extend grace in a world that is often graceless, to show generosity in a world that is chronically stingy, to pour out love in a world that is often unkind.  In the end, some herbs with rejoicing is better than great feasting with strife.  So, set aside any perfectionism and invite the neighbors over for coffee.  Don’t worry about what you don’t have and throw a picnic and a water-balloon fight this Memorial Day!  Find what you do have and believe that it is more than enough.  It always is, you know. Some of the greatest times of sharing, intimacy and friendship we have ever had have been over a plate of leftovers.  Like the boy with his loaves and fishes in the Scriptures, what is shared is always multiplied.  What is shared feeds not only the body, but the soul.

(Linked to Fabulously Frugal ThursdayCreative Saturdays, Hope In Every SeasonFoodie Friends Friday, Show Off Friday,  Show and Tell FridayAnything Goes, Get Schooled, Backyard Farming Connection, From The FarmBloom Designs and Making Your Home Sing)

I guess you can say I’m a California girl through-and-through.  I don’t think anything quite tops a gathering of friends or family outside.  Something about sitting there in the sunshine or the shade or around a bonfire that makes me never want to go inside.  And let’s face it, in a lot of ways, showing […]

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May Goals

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Hospitality.

A word that inspires some and sends chills down the spines of others.  We know.  But, there is Grace.

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For the month of May we are focusing on Biblical Hospitality.  What does it mean?  How is it different than entertaining?  Why we should do it and how we should share hospitality.  We’ll be giving you some of our tried-and-true tips and how-to’s with our prayers that you will find rest and peace in sharing hospitality as an act of mercy.

We also have some great things in store for Mom, including a give-away!  And, don’t forget May 17th is Food Revolution Day.  We’ll be chronicling our participation in this great event supporting local food.  It’s going to be a busy month here in The Provision Room!  Are you ready to join in the fun?

Our Baby Steps:

  • Continue doubling two meals per week for the freezer and pantry.
  • Purchase inexpensive hospitality items.  (Don’t worry!  We have lots of ideas on frugal ways to be ready for guests.)

Big Girl Steps:

  • Practice hospitality, by participating in Food Revolution Day.

More often, there will be visits with family and friends, mundane times of struggling and growing together with conversations centering around God, marriage, the events of our day and our generation, and our hopes and prayers for one another, our children and our children’s children.

You see, memories such as these have very little to do with “entertaining”. There is little recollection of what was served or on what plate. 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!” 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 plateful 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.  (Theresa Bowen, A Candle In The Window Hospitality Network)

(Linked to Hope In Every SeasonFrugally Sustainable and Backyard Farming Connection Hop)

Hospitality. A word that inspires some and sends chills down the spines of others.  We know.  But, there is Grace. For the month of May we are focusing on Biblical Hospitality.  What does it mean?  How is it different than entertaining?  Why we should do it and how we should share hospitality.  We’ll be giving […]

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FOOD REVOLUTION DAY, May 17, 2013!

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Food Revolution Day is something about which we are super passionate.  REAL FOOD!  Where it comes from! How to arrives to our tables! How we prepare it with respect and awareness!  And how we share it with others!

Last year for Food Revolution Day we hosted a Farm-To-Table dinner for the pastors and church leaders of our community.  It was beautiful and inspiring to see leaders from different denominations and streams come together around a common table.  You can see lots of pictures and read more about it here and here.

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This Food Revolution Day’s theme is “Cook it. Share it. Live it.”  Now that’s a motto we can definitely support!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrmHMpDRLb4?rel=0]

WANT TO GET INVOLVED?

To celebrate and to spread the message this Food Revolution Day, we will be having friends over to taste all your amazing vegetable recipes!  Our panel of experts has grown!

We want you to be involved, too.  It’s as simple as cooking real food and sharing it with others.  It’s something we all can do!

  • Gather friends for a potluck picnic!
  • Invite the neighbors over for a homemade ice cream social!
  • Fire up the grill and include lots of local veggies from the Farmer’s Market!
  • Have your kids’ friends over for a cooking lesson and everyone eat together!
  • Meet friends at the Farmer’s Market and picnic afterwards!
  • Make meals or sack lunches to share with the homeless in your community.
  • Volunteer your time at a soup kitchen or food bank.

The possibilities are endless!  Just cook it.  Share it. And live it!

AND THEN…….

Share it with us!  Send us a picture of how you celebrate Food Revolution Day.  And you might win Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Cookbook!

Jamie Oliver

It’s super easy.  Just snap a picture of you sharing real food with real people on or around Food Revolution Day (May 17) and share it with us via Facebook or by emailing theprovisionroom@gmail.com and you’ll be entered to win!  We can’t wait to see what you creative people come up with!

Believe it or not, it is things just like this that change the world.  Sharing a meal is POWERFUL! It really is.  Even Jesus used sharing food to describe our salvation and the Kingdom of Heaven!  Talk about powerful!

We’ll be talking more about the Food Revolution in the days to come, via the blog, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.  PLEASE JOIN THE CONVERSATION!

I sometimes think the chef end of cooking is not the real end of cooking.  Cooking is all about homes and gardens, it doesn’t happen in restaurants. –Delia Smith

(Linked to Wise Woman Link-upTasty Traditions, HomeAcre HopHope In Every Season, Try A New Recipe TuesdayEco Kids Tuesdays, Wise Woman Link-Up 30You’re Gonna Love It,  Manic Mondays,  Show and Tell FridayShow Off FridayAnything Goes, Natural Living Link-UpFive Little Chefs, From The Farm)

Food Revolution Day is something about which we are super passionate.  REAL FOOD!  Where it comes from! How to arrives to our tables! How we prepare it with respect and awareness!  And how we share it with others! Last year for Food Revolution Day we hosted a Farm-To-Table dinner for the pastors and church leaders […]