It’s our time, Hosts!

Who are we trying to please anyway?

It’s the Monday of Thanksgiving week. Hosts, we got this. Here are a couple things to remember:

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24

There is a difference between trying to make people feel welcomed and loved, and trying to impress. It’s a fine line. Be aware of it. Trying to impress will leave you feeling exhausted and unfulfilled, trying to serve will leave you and your guests filled with joy. It’s the difference between making sure everyone has a seat at the table, and fretting over making sure every chair matches and is beautiful.

Watch your attitude!

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:8-9

This is a big one, friends. Frankly it discourages me how quickly I can be enticed to grumble when it comes to being hospitable. No matter how hard I work to prepare, the few hours before an event seem to always get me a little frantic, and this often leads to grumbling and usually over the stupidest stuff! Why is it that you don’t notice the smudges on the baseboards or the doggie nose prints on the back glass door until people are about to show up and it’s too late to do anything about them? I’m working on this. I don’t want to be a grumbler.

Stay out of the ditches!

In my opinion there are two ditches we tend to fall into when it comes to hosting. The first one is that everything must be PERFECT! Not a smudge on a baseboard, not a dish in the sink, no unmade beds, and not a dog hair to be seen! And the host will make her family quite miserable making sure no hosting stone has been left unturned. She will freak out, yell, grumble, threaten etc. to get that house into tip top shape. TIP TOP SHAPE, PEOPLE!

The other ditch is the ‘whatever’ ditch. This is the attitude of ‘take me as I am.’ I’m not cleaning for y’all. You can come and see the real us and if you don’t like it…well, too bad! Just push that pile of laundry out of your way and have a seat. No one cares anyway.

Clearly  the goal of a good, God honoring host is in the middle of those two ditches. We want people to be comfortable in our homes. If the people coming have children perhaps don’t leave out your grandma’s  crystal vase on the coffee table. How comfortable are your guests going to be in your house if at every turn their children could break something valuable? On the other hand, you don’t want to clear every surface and turn your whole house into a toddler playhouse. How is that nice for the adults? Find a middle ground! You don’t have to have a kitchen that sparkles like the night sky and looks like no one has ever cooked in it to be a good host. But if there are so many dishes stacked everywhere that your guests can’t find a clean glass for some water that’s a problem. You don’t need a house that looks like no children live there to host friends, but if every seat is covered in toys where are your guests going to sit?

And to confuse things even further, the point is never what the guests think of YOU, but how they feel in your home and how they feel about who you are serving. WHY are you serving them? Because you love the Lord and he instructed us to love his people. I want my guests to feel like I prepared for them. I want them here. I have made a place for them. Not because I’m some great host, but because THEY are children of God and I want to serve Him by serving them.

My point is, it’s not really about what exactly you do, but why you do it. If your home is tiny and you’re eating PB&Js off of paper plates for an afternoon playdate with a new mom at your church and you didn’t manage to get those few baskets of laundry put away, and there are some of last night’s dishes still in the kitchen you didn’t get to, but you made a comfy place in the living room to chat for a while, and you got out the train set that is usually put away so all the kids would have a fun activity to keep them occupied while you get to know your new friend better, that new friend is going to feel so loved. You thought of her and her children. You prepared for her.

Maybe you’re empty nesters and you decided to invite a few couples over for dinner to get to know them better. Get out the good China. It’s only 6 plates you have to hand wash. Get down the fancy glasses or grab some nice goblets at the dollar store. Use cloth napkins. This is always so well received. Your guests feel like you went the extra mile for them. You prepared for them. They were worth the good China. It’s not about showing off your good China or fancy glasses, its showing people you love them.

So as we begin this crazy frantic week of vacuuming up the dog hair and cleaning baseboards and cooking way too much food in way too small a kitchen all while trying not to grumble, remember just Who we are trying to please

P.S Take the turkey out of the freezer. It’s time.

Thankful For: Day 3

Happy the Golden Lab

I am thankful for this dog.

I found her at our local shelter the day after our beloved Violet The Best Dog died. We were so sad and I decided another dog was the answer. I went to several shelters and finally ended up at our local shelter. I didn’t try there first because I’d looked online and hadn’t seen anything that fit what we were looking for.

The lady who worked at the shelter asked me about our old dog that had died and what we loved about her and then she asked if she could show me Happy (Izzy at the time). She was said to be a 6 month old cattle dog mix. I almost said no because I knew we didn’t want a puppy and I definitely knew we didn’t want a cattle dog! No one had the energy for that and I didn’t want a dog that was smarter than me. We’d had a cattle dog before and when they say those dogs need a job or they will find one, they are not joking.

But I said I’d meet her and that was the end of that. She ran right over to me and put her head on my lap while the whole rest of her body wagged with her tail. She is a very people oriented dog. She settled right in and has been such a sweet dog ever sense. She has never met a stranger. She loves everyone she meets, and almost all animals. There has only even been two dogs she has snarled at and I blame the other dogs. haha. She even loves to go to the Vet!

But the thing I am the most thankful for with Happy is how much she LOVES the little kids. She is such a nanny dog. She will stand in front of them when they are near the pool and won’t let them anywhere near it. Which is especially annoying when were all actually playing in the pool! She always wants to be near them and she really does not like it when they cry. We have worked with her to respect their space. And we’ve worked with the kids to know not to corner her or be rough with her. There are times when the kids are being a bit rowdy near her and I wonder why she does not get up and move. Most dogs sure would. But she seems to love sticking right near them.

We did a DNA test on Happy and she came back half Labrador and half golden retriever and not a bit of cattle dog! Which does not surprise me at all because while she is the sweetest dog, she’s not all that smart. She has been known to actually run into things because she is looking to make sure you’re following her instead of where she’s going. We sure love her goofy self. She was the dog we needed in this time of life. I’m thankful God made dogs, and I’m thankful He made this one and let us find her.

Right before hitting the record button, my little granddaughter was sitting there saying ‘dog’ over and over and patting Happy. Who of course was eating it right up. She sure loves those babies.

Thankful: Day 2

I found this beautiful original painting on Facebook Marketplace. I thought it was so lovey. It is so happy and cheery and fits perfectly in this little space in the master bedroom.

My sister in law is an amazing interior decorator and this is something she taught me: to look for beauty like this in unexpected places like thrift stores and antique stores etc. It is pretty easy to take something like this old painting and spruce it up with a new frame and make it beautiful again. Then your home looks unique. It has things in it no other home has. Things that you love and think are beautiful and bring you joy. Not just a mass produced print from Hobby Lobby (No shame though. I have some of those too!)

The point is, I’m thankful for this painting. It makes me happy. It was an inexpensive find and yet someone worked very hard to create it. I’m thankful they did.

Thankful: Day 1

Yesterday was Nov 1. I planned to Start off the month by writing my first ‘Thankful For’ blog post. But as often happens, my day blew up. We found our second slab leak in 10 months. We haven’t even finished putting the house back together after the first slab leak and now we have to begin tearing the house up again to fix the second. And this time, just a few short weeks before Thanksgiving and the holiday season, the leak is in the kitchen.

My kitchen, the center of the home, is about to be torn apart. I’d be lying if I said I handled this news well. There may have been tears. Anger. Even a little despair. Sounds overly dramatic, I know. The last slab leak disrupted our lives so thoroughly that I can’t imagine beginning the process again. The last time this happened we lived in our camper for 142 days. That’s pretty much the whole holiday season for those of you counting, if we have to do that again now.

So, it seems today of all days, this first (or second, just hush) day of November, it’s time to ‘take some of these thoughts captive and make them obedient’ so to speak. I will count my blessings because even in the midsts of this house nightmare, my blessings are many. And I need to train my mind to focus on them. Not on my circumstances. (Which I think are about to get pretty unpleasant.)

I am thankful for this guy; my partner in crime for the last almost 31 years. He keeps me grounded. He reminds me to not lose my cool when things go south. He handles the hard things. He kills the bugs. He is my favorite.
This family. I don’t even know what to say. How did I get so blessed with four children who love the Lord? Who found spouses who love the Lord and fit right in to this crazy family like they have always been here? And these grandchildren? Oh how I love them.
So far we have four of the sweetest, most adorable, wonderful, grandbaby blessings a person could ask for.
With two more on the way!

The last year has been hard. It’s true. We bought this house that was completely remodeled and ready to move in to, easy-peasy, no work required just over one year ago. We have spent the vast majority of that year not living in the house while it was torn up and being repaired, and it looks like we’re about to do that again.

I am frustrated and upset but I will chose to count my blessings this month. Every day. because how can I not? They are so many.