Posts Tagged ‘Interviews’

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Making Home: Katie–Part 2

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(We believe in Home-Centered Living.  We believe it’s good for women, men, children, society, the earth. This post is part of an on-going series we are calling, “Making Home” looking at the diverse lives of homemakers and those striving to live Home-Centered Lives. )

Making Home

[This interview is PART 2. Read Part 1, here.]

The Provision Room: Thank you, Katie, for the deep truths you shared in Part 1. We are certainly challenged to live fully as God created us to be as women!

OK, so, you have started an amazing new website. Can you tell us a little about it?

Katie: My new business is called Mom Clothes, and its purpose is to offer outfit coaching and style assistance to busy moms on the go. I post photos of my own outfits, offer tutorials for things like choosing clothes that flatter mom curves, and consult with women individually. With my individual clients, we identify their body shape and find clothing that flatters that shape, shopping together and even working on hair and makeup.

The Provision Room: That sounds like a fun job for sure! What inspired you to start it?

Katie: I find great delight in pretty clothes and have made a journey of self-discovery through my wardrobe. Many moms ask me where I shop and ask for wardrobe tips, so I decided to share what I  have learned through a business.

The Provision Room: How do you feel the way we dress impacts the rest of our lives? And do you feel that there can be an intersection between faith and fashion?

Katie: I first understood the impact of clothing when I was a freshman at Notre Dame. I had an 8:30 AM Calculus class, and, I discovered that when I got up half an hour early to put on mascara, curl my hair, and choose an outfit, rather than just throwing on sweat pants, I did much better in class. It was as if I was mentally prepared for my day, and on the days when I was mentally prepared, everything was better. I was on time for appointments, on top of my homework, and felt strong and in charge. But on the mornings when I slept in and didn’t dress with purpose, I felt like I was always running behind. That same law seems to hold true now that I am a mother. I don’t feel like I am fully awake until I am fully dressed, and it’s nice to leave the house knowing that I am prepared for the day. I never find myself wishing that I had put on a cute top or put on mascara, and I never feel like I am underdressed.

Making Home: Katie

As for faith and fashion, I find myself admiring women who look like them know their value in Christ. There are a few veteran moms at my parish who seem to exude an aura of elegance, courtesy, and grace. It’s as if they have invited Jesus to transform their hearts, and He has made them queens. They are so beautiful! So, yes, in my experience, interior transformation often extends to outward appearance.

The Provision Room: What would you say to that homemaker, who perhaps right now doesn’t feel so queenly, so transformed?  She’s in the thick of things and perhaps she’s not feeling particularly lovely?

Katie: When a mom is struggling, it’s important to ask her lots of questions first. How are her hormones–does she have enough progesterone (necessary for energy, bone density, healthy ovaries/uterus, etc)? If she needs hormonal help, I would refer her to a NaPro practioner or her nearest NaPro Ob/Gyn. Second, how is her mental health? Motherhood is incredibly taxing and can dredge up childhood pain that has never been addressed–maybe she has childhood sexual wounds or scars from physical/verbal abuse and she is beginning to experience PTSD symptoms and doesn’t know what to do. In my own life, motherhood opened many painful memories from my very painful childhood, and I have worked with a counselor intermittently for the last six years. If a mom is struggling, she might really benefit from counseling and/or anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds, etc. Third, how is her stress level? Maybe she has a new baby and is homeschooling and trying to be super-organic mom (making her own bread, bone broth, kombucha, laundry soap) and really needs help. I would encourage her to get the help she needs. In my own life, I hire a single mom from our church to clean my house every three weeks; she washes the showers and toilets, and I get to take that responsibility off my plate. Also, I hire a homeschooled teenager to come over for two hours twice per week, so that I can sit in my room and read or sew or get coffee. There are all kinds of resources for moms, like freezer-meal clubs and babysitting coops, and moms thrive more when we take advantage of those opportunities.

With regard to clothing, when a mom feels pretty, each of the struggles that I listed above is easier to bear. I have been through so many crucifixion-esque days as a mother–vomiting nonstop with pregnancy, panic attacks from chronic PTSD, three failed adoptions after three years of mothering, necessary hysterectomy in order to save my life–and my heartbreak was a little easier when I got to put on cute skirt and pearls and lipstick. I remember, after Edmund was born and I nearly died from hemorrhaging with a retained placenta and had to have two blood transfusions and emergency surgery, that, when I was finally wheeled back to my post-partum room, I dragged myself into the shower, then got dressed in cute pjs and silky robe and pearls and applied mascara with shaky hands, and, I began to feel better. I felt absolutely poopy, but I felt human again, and that helped tremendously. I was not going to fall apart, sick as I was.

I know that sounds trite, but it’s true. The clothes do make the woman, in some sense, and, even if I feel like my life is a mess and wonder where the heck is Jesus in this, I can “fake it until I make it.” I can dress like I am confident and beautiful. I can dress like my home is my workplace and I take my job seriously and give my very best to my family, even though I really feel like staying in my pajamas all day because I have post-partum depression. The reality that I have repeatedly experienced, even when I was dying inside, was that dressing with care sends a message to myself and to all who see me, namely, that I am a daughter of God and that everything is going to be okay.

[Watch our video on the power of a woman’s body, featuring pictures of Katie and her babies here.]

The Provision Room: Thank you so much for opening up your heart to us! There is a lot to think about here. We know we’ll be coming back to these themes and your words again and again.  Before we let you go, let’s do rapid fire:

Favorite household chore? Washing dishes—it’s a great evening date with my husband.

Least favorite household chore? Scrubbing the shower and tub.

Favorite accessory? My “pearl stack”; it’s really just three strands of pearls from Target, but it looks so elegant together and pearls frame the fame wonderfully.

One thing that has gone out of style that you wish would come back around? Hats. Hats are kind to women—they highlight her beautiful eyes and cheekbones, the hide wrinkled foreheads and unwashed hair, and the mask bad hair days.

What is one thing that is in style that you wish would be gone forever? Geometric print leggings worn as pants. Leggings worn as pants are unflattering on nearly every body type, and I often wish that I did not have to see a fellow woman’s bottom in such minute detail. I’m not looking, but I can’t help but see.

How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? Depends. I wash my hair every three or four day, so on the days when I don’t wash, I can be ready—outfit, jewelry, makeup and hair—in twenty minutes. When I wash my hair, it takes a little longer because I have to blow dry and style my hair.

Making Home: Katie

A HUGE thank-you to Katie! This interview has been inspiring and uplifting. Now I feel like cleaning out my closet and putting together better outfits! Go follow her on Facebook and Instagram! And visit her website: Mom Clothes.

(All photos property of Katie Rose.)

Making Home

(We believe in Home-Centered Living.  We believe it’s good for women, men, children, society, the earth. This post is part of an on-going series we are calling, “Making Home” looking at the diverse lives of homemakers and those striving to live Home-Centered Lives. ) [This interview is PART 2. Read Part 1, here.] The Provision Room: Thank […]

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Making Home: Katie–Part I

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(We believe in Home-Centered Living.  We believe it’s good for women, men, children, society, the earth. This post is part of an on-going series we are calling, “Making Home” looking at the diverse lives of homemakers and those striving to live Home-Centered Lives. )

Making Home

We met Katie a year ago online. It was providential. Our hearts immediately felt a kinship, and we had to hold the reigns on our enthusiasm so as not to appear like crazy stalkers. We have been wanting to interview her for a year! So, this piece is a long time coming and much anticipated! Katie inspires us in our faith, in our femininity, and in our homemaking. And really, how many people drop John Paul II quotes in regular conversation? What’s not to love?! She has recently started a new website called MomClothes. She’s a fashionista who has this passion for helping women look and feel their best, honoring their whole person–body and soul.  ENJOY!

Making Home: Katie

Katie Rose of Mom Clothes

 The Provision Room: Welcome Katie! Please tell us a little about yourself.

Katie: I grew up in the dusty borderlands of New Mexico, spent my undergrad years in Indiana at the University of Notre Dame, and now live in Texas with my family. My wonderful husband, Devin, is a software engineer by day and an author by night; he’s written “The Protestant’s Dilemma” and “Farm Flop.” We are blessed with five children. Edmund is five and Josephine is two and the other three are with Jesus. I am excited about permaculture gardening, beekeeping, and pottery on a kick wheel.

Devin, Katie and their lovely children

 The Provision Room:  Well, let’s jump right in! There’s a stereotype about homemakers and moms in general that a lot of strong women have tried to dispel over recent years. Do you feel there is a stereotype about homemakers?

Katie: Good question. In my experience, most people are more open minded than the media portrays; certainly, words from people like President Obama and Cosmo magazine that denigrate full-time moms make me roll my eyes, but they are the minority. The moms who I know who hold full-time jobs outside the home aren’t dismissive of me as a full-time mom; no one asks if I spend my days getting pedicures and watching soap operas. It can be awkward at a social party, when I meet a new person and am asked, “So, what do you do?” I’ve learned to laugh and make a joke about working overtime but not getting paid for it. In my experience, most people seem to understand that all moms love their kids, whether they are full-time moms or full-time employees.

The Provision Room: It’s rather expected that the greater culture may misunderstand the role of a woman in the family, do you feel that this misunderstanding extends into the Church? How about in the woman herself? Do you feel most women understand their importance in the family and greater culture?

Katie: I am Catholic, so when I speak of the Church, I am speaking of the Catholic church, comprised of her teaching authority (Pope and bishops), doctrine, and her people in the pews. Catholic doctrine describing the precious value of women and their maternity is the most beautiful that I have ever found. I have studied Hinduism, evangelical Christian theology, and Buddhist teachings, and the Catholic understanding of what motherhood is and its fundamental value for the family and human society is the most rich and positive. This same attitude of treasuring mothers extends to Pope Francis and the bishops in general; Pope Francis has emphasized the right of mothers to nurse their babies in his presence and repeatedly praises the sacrifices of mothers. Parish life, however, does not always mirror the richness of Catholic doctrine. People get busy and moms sometimes are viewed merely as chauffeurs, chaperones, volunteers, and lay ministers. But, most parishes try to have groups for moms, to offer support and doctrinal formation. Many Catholics don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus and don’t know the rich beauty of feminine and maternal doctrine, so lay evangelists have much work to do.

Making Home: Katie

The Provision Room: We appreciate your (brutal) honesty and the challenge for us to share the truth better! How can we as Christian women help in that work?  What steps can we take to share the beauty of feminine and maternal doctrine?

Katie: We as women are most potent evangelizers when we are most fully ourselves. So, let’s start with answering the question, “Who is woman?” Woman is always Beloved Creation, Wife/Helpmate, and Mother. We see these archetypal truths written into our very bodies, and, since our bodies witness to the “shape” of our souls, as Saint Thomas Aquinas taught, then we can learn about our spiritual/emotional/psychological life from our bodies. The body expresses the person, as Pope John Paul II said. What I have just said is very deep and requires entire books to be written, but we don’t have space for that here, so I’ll briefly sum it up by saying it this way: Every woman is created by God for her own sake, as a precious daughter of the Father who is His most treasured beloved. However, we only find our lives by laying them down, in the example of Jesus, so we are only fully known in relation to the masculine; whether a woman is married to a man or consecrates her femininity to Jesus, she is only fully alive in relation to masculinity. Pope John Paul II called this masculine-feminine dynamism “complementarity.” And, as our bodies attest, when we receive the gift from our husband/Jesus (whether spiritual or physical), we bear new life through maternity. We women are always mothers, whether we are blessed with physical children or with hundreds of spiritual children. Sorry! I know that’s a lot of really deep philosophy in one paragraph.

Okay, so let’s look at evangelization through the lens of “truth about women”. First, if woman is a most treasured creation, then she can witness that reality to every person she meets and invite them into that relationship with God; woman, in herself, is the icon of all humanity. Think about the prophet Hosea and how the words that he spoke about his unfaithful wife were really the words of God for the entire people of Israel. Woman, when she joyfully participates in the creature-Creator relationship, is a very powerful missionary. Second, woman as Wife/Helpmate is an icon for every person of receiving God’s gift of love, of being welcoming and docile; Mother Mary is the most deeply alive and rich example of the Bride. She was so totally welcoming to the Holy Spirit that her “let it be done unto me” bore new life in Jesus Christ. So, women witness in a potent way, in their persons, to hearts that are soft and malleable to the Holy Spirit. And, finally, women as mothers offer a wonderful gift that is desperately needed in our lonely and machine-driven world. That gift is an awareness, always and fundamentally, of the importance of the person. Pope John Paul II called this intuitive awareness of the person the “feminine genius”; it means that, no matter where she is–in a physics laboratory, on a construction site, in the kitchen making dinner while nursing the baby, in the classroom, and so forth–that woman makes it personal. She is able to take abstract issues, such as a cancer diagnosis, and see the person behind it and reach that person’s pain. That feminine genius for personal values is fundamental in evangelization because, if people don’t feel like they are loved, then they won’t be open to Christ. Sharing the Gospel has to be first about the heart before it can be about doctrinal truth, and women are geniuses when it comes to the human heart.

As for sharing the truth about feminine and maternal doctrine, in my experience, a woman who is living from the depths of her richness is the most potent book that there is. So, first, a woman who lets Jesus reveal her to herself is incredibly powerful. And, second, intellectual formation is helpful, through reading Song of Songs, for example, and reading the accounts of Jesus’ interaction with women (how He loved women!); also, as a Catholic, I recommend doctrinal documents like John Paul II’s “Letter to Women”, “Mulieris Dignitatem (On the dignity of women)”, and “Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body”.

Making Home: Katie

Living that Maternal Doctrine

The Provision Room: That right there is a lot to digest!  (Mulieris Dignitatem is on our Must Read list for our children!) And the interview just keeps getting better! So, we are going to share this in two parts! Stay tuned for the second half of our special interview with Katie of Mom Clothes! In the meantime, go follow her on Facebook and Instagram! And visit her website: Mom Clothes.  [READ PART TWO HERE.]

Mom Clothes

Tulle and Leather, Mom Clothes

(All photos property of Katie Rose. This post contains affiliate links. Purchases through affiliate links help support this blogs and the families who love it!)

 

Making Home

(We believe in Home-Centered Living.  We believe it’s good for women, men, children, society, the earth. This post is part of an on-going series we are calling, “Making Home” looking at the diverse lives of homemakers and those striving to live Home-Centered Lives. ) We met Katie a year ago online. It was providential. Our hearts immediately […]

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Making Home: Bishop Gabe

Blog | Raising Arrows 4 Comments

(We believe in Home-Centered Living.  We believe it’s good for women, men, children, society, the earth. This post is part of an on-going series we are calling, “Making Home” looking at the diverse lives of homemakers and those striving to live Home-Centered Lives. )

Making Home

Today we are talking with Bishop Gabe Abdelaziz of Alpha Beth Ministries and The Revival Center.  He just so happens to be Daja’s dad.  And you’ve met his other daughter and his wife already! He’s passionate about family life.  It has been the focus of his preaching and ministry for more than 40 years.  Enjoy…. Read More

Bishop Gabe and Pastor Dorothy

(We believe in Home-Centered Living.  We believe it’s good for women, men, children, society, the earth. This post is part of an on-going series we are calling, “Making Home” looking at the diverse lives of homemakers and those striving to live Home-Centered Lives. ) Today we are talking with Bishop Gabe Abdelaziz of Alpha Beth […]

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Making Home: Daja

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“I believe that a godly home is a foretaste of heaven. Our homes, imperfect as they are, must be a haven from the chaos outside. They should be a reflection of our eternal home, where troubled souls find peace, weary hearts find rest, hungry bodies find refreshment, lonely pilgrims find communion, and wounded spirits find compassion.”  (Jani Ortlund)

Making Home

Today I (Kristina) am interviewing Daja.  In our last Making Home post Daja interviewed me and told you how we met, and while it’s all true, I thought I would take a moment and expand on some of my thoughts on meeting Daja. Read More

Making Home

“I believe that a godly home is a foretaste of heaven. Our homes, imperfect as they are, must be a haven from the chaos outside. They should be a reflection of our eternal home, where troubled souls find peace, weary hearts find rest, hungry bodies find refreshment, lonely pilgrims find communion, and wounded spirits find […]

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Making Home: Kristina

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We believe in Home-Centered Living.  We believe it’s good for women, men, children, society, the earth. This post is part of an on-going series we are calling, “Making Home” looking at the lives of homemakers and those striving to live Home-Centered Lives. 

Making Home

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Making Home

We believe in Home-Centered Living.  We believe it’s good for women, men, children, society, the earth. This post is part of an on-going series we are calling, “Making Home” looking at the lives of homemakers and those striving to live Home-Centered Lives. 

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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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Get Organized!

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One of our goals for August is to look ahead to the Fall and make some organizational plans.  This is the perfect time of year to make sure the school room is tidy and appealing, the herbal medicine cabinet is fully stocked and ready for cold and flu season, the pantry is ready for the upcoming Fall and Winter holidays, and so much more!  Certainly we aren’t going to get it all accomplished in August, but we at least have to make a plan for tackling each area when those lazy days of summer come to a close!  To inspire you, we would like to introduce you to Janet of Do It–Downsize, Organize, It’s Time!  What does she do you ask?  She’s a professional organizer!  She takes other people’s messy places and makes them places of beauty and peace.  In other words, you might call her a miracle worker. Read More

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One of our goals for August is to look ahead to the Fall and make some organizational plans.  This is the perfect time of year to make sure the school room is tidy and appealing, the herbal medicine cabinet is fully stocked and ready for cold and flu season, the pantry is ready for the […]

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A Message From Nancy Campbell

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A very special message indeed! Read More

A very special message indeed!

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A Message from Theresa Bowen

Blog | Hospitality No Comments

We were so blessed to become acquainted with Mrs. Theresa Bowen at The Reformation of Food and The Family Conference last week.  We felt immediately that she was a kindred spirit!  She has started a wonderful ministry called A Candle In The Window.  As soon as we heard about it, we loved it straight away!  It’s a network of Christian families across the country and across the world who are willing to open up their homes for hospitality!  Ever find yourself in a new city, perhaps for business or on a road trip with the family, and wish you knew someone?  A Candle In The Window allows you to link up with a Christian family for a conversational dinner or an overnight stay.  Perhaps God has been challenging you in the area of showing hospitality?  This is a perfect way to make your home and heart available to show love to whomever the Holy Spirit leads to you!   Read More

We were so blessed to become acquainted with Mrs. Theresa Bowen at The Reformation of Food and The Family Conference last week.  We felt immediately that she was a kindred spirit!  She has started a wonderful ministry called A Candle In The Window.  As soon as we heard about it, we loved it straight away! […]

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A Message From Vicki West

Blog | In The Garden No Comments

Vicki West of Homestead Blessings gives a special word of encouragement to Provision Room readers and their victory gardens! Read More

Vicki West of Homestead Blessings gives a special word of encouragement to Provision Room readers and their victory gardens!