Everyday hospitality is so very different than “entertaining”. I hope you’ll find a bit of hope, some real life ideas, and encouragement for your own hospitality journey here. *hint* It’s way less complicated than you probably think. Here’s a glimpse of what it’s looking like for us…
But first, a story of two women.
I’d like you to meet Debbie. She’s a busy mom of four kids, all spaced closely together. She runs a farm (with the whole gamut of animals), runs *multiple* local businesses with her doting husband, and yet still finds time and willingness to open her arms and doors to everyone.
Her home is warm and welcoming – always full of laughter and regular food fights around the kitchen table. But to be honest, with all the plates she had spinning in the air, her house was usually well lived in.
You know…real life stuff.
Dishes in the sink, laundry piles multiplying like rabbits, and kid-tracked-dirt on the floors. (because #farmlife – plus all the many kids and cousins coming and going).
To my knowledge, she never turned anyone away. As the kids grew into their teen years, typical teen stuff came up – with all it’s struggles, challenges, and just plain Hard Stuff.
She would stay up late into the night, talking about anything and everything.
All the kids knew she was a safe place.
Her home was a safe place.
She would listen without judging – without butting in with the “right” answer. Kids without a stable home life? They knew they were welcome there.
Frozen pizza and brownies were staples.
And laughter rang in those walls.
I remember how I felt when I was there. Like it was my second home. Like I never wanted to leave.
She was my Aunt Debbie.
Now I’d like you to meet woman number 2.
She is also a mom of four kids. She runs two businesses, chauffeurs kids all over kingdom come, struggles trying to keep up with all the house stuff and rarely wants to have anyone over.
Because hello, her house is never perfect, and let’s be honest…sometimes having people over is just too “people-y”.
She thinks they’ll judge her less-than-spotless-floors, the sometimes-smudgy-paw-printed couch covers and she’d just rather not go there.
It’s so much easier to keep up the walls and not let people into her home, where real life happens daily.
When the walls are high, it’s just easier that way, right?
I am woman number 2.
Correction, I WAS woman number 2.
Enter this book. Just Open the Door.
*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Full disclosure here.*
I know I can’t be the only woman overly concerned about all that stuff I mentioned above.
As I read this book, I felt God speaking to my heart.
I started praying, asking Him to break my heart for what breaks His. To open my eyes to the needs of those around me.
I have neighbors who need someone to genuinely care about them.
I want to be that girl.
I have teens who need a safe place to land with their friends (spotlessly clean house or not-so-much).
I want to be that mom.
I have friends who need someone to come alongside them and share Real Life with them.
I want to be that friend.
I want my house to be a safe place for life to happen.
I want these walls to ring with laughter.
I want my couch to be a place where hearts are shared.
I want my dining room table to hear stories of brokenness, hope, and redemption.
And it starts with me.
Maybe even with you.
Just opening the door.
Is it easy?? Heck, no. It’s waaaaay out of my comfort zone…perhaps yours, too?
But when we do things that can seem big and scary, we open the door for God to do some pretty cool stuff. And if He chooses to use US to make an impact on someone’s life?
Wow. Count me in.
Here are a Couple Ways to Make Everyday Hospitality Easier
Have food ready. Even if that means a stack of frozen pizzas or bags of soup in the freezer, store bought cookies, or popcorn in the pantry.
If you feed them, they will come.
One way I’m trying to be more prepared is taking some time to cook up a bunch of food to have stashed in the freezer for impromptu guests.
I’ll have more Everyday Hospitality food prep ideas coming for you, but for now, I’ll leave you with this easy idea.
My Everyday Hospitality Chicken
In your Instant Pot (I have the 8 quart one) place:
- one cup of water in the bottom of the insert
- as many frozen chicken breasts as you can fit, standing on their sides, in the rack. I fit 6-7 large ones, easily.
- season to taste with salt, pepper, dried onion flakes, and garlic powder.
- Place lid on top, with vent turned to “sealing”
- push “manual” and set timer for 15 minutes (totally up to you and how thick the chicken breasts are)
- once time is up, I let the pressure release naturally, but you can quick-release it if you like
*Here’s my not-so-secret trick for shredding cooked chicken in a flash: Place it all in your Kitchenaid stand mixer with the paddle attachment and turn it on low. In under a minute, you’ll have perfectly shredded chicken.
Now bag it up in freezer bags and you’ll have shredded chicken ready to go at a moment’s notice.
You can do all kinds of things with this deliciousness:
- chicken nachos (a family fave)
- add BBQ sauce and throw in a crock pot for BBQ chicken sandwiches for a crowd
- make chicken alfredo pizzas with store bought sauce and crust
- speedy chicken veggie rolls ups
- add to almost any recipe that calls for chicken!
With this recipe up your sleeve, you’ll never scramble for what to feed your people.
I think – no, I *know* – my Aunt Debbie and my Mom (who both left behind a legacy of abiding love and open-door-living) would tell us to set aside our pretenses and hangups we have with our homes…and just love on the people around us.
It doesn’t come easy for me, either – so I’m working on it right alongside you.
Together, let’s be door openers, sweet friend. (Click here to learn more about Just Open the Door.)