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Hospitality

Why Cleaning Isn’t So Bad | Free Caldrea Cleaners

So, I have a confession.

While we were living in Bangkok, I had a maid. A full time, live-in, clean EVERYTHING, cook everything, ah-mazing maid. I won’t go into the whole story, but when we agreed to rent our friend’s house while they were gone for a year in order to save money, they asked us to keep their maid, so she would have a job until they returned. I totally did a happy dance fought tooth and nail, insisting we didn’t need a maid, but signed that contract as fast as I could gave in because we were still saving money. The bliss of having a full time helper is not something I can clearly communicate in writing. It’s better than you can imagine. I promise.

Then, I moved back to the States. And now, I am the maid. And much to my chagrin, I am still just as OCD as I was before I left. So, I clean. A lot.

Which is why I am so thankful to be back in the land of the free and the home of the scented dish soap.

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Being back, I have quickly come to rely on Grove Collaborative to make my kitchen look warm and welcoming (and make me look like Martha Stewart) with minimal effort. This month, Grove has put together a beautiful Caldrea summer entertaining set for you — a FREE gift with purchase. These dish soaps and countertop cleaners from Caldrea are amazing. Where else can you find hard­working, healthy cleaners that smell like fine fragrances? And ya’ll, I am all about the smell. So, when I say they smell amazing, I mean it. Plus, they look incredibly chic on your countertop.

Each scent is made with the best natural ingredients and light essential oils. The pear blossom agave scent is my personal favorite — it smells like summer in bloom! When you order, you can also choose the sea salt neroli, tangelo palm frond, or ginger pomelo scents. The set also includes this Grove Collaborative Be Good dish brush, made of earth-friendly bamboo and BPA ­free recycled plastic. It’s too pretty to store under the sink, so I keep mine right up there with my fancy soap!

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If you’re new to Grove Collaborative, you’ll get this set FREE + free shipping when you order here and spend $20. If you’re already hooked on Grove, you’ll get a free Grove Collaborative Be Good dish brush when you use this link.

I can’t wait to order some Caldrea hand soaps. They are the only ones I love more than Mrs. Meyer’s, so I plan on adding a couple to my next two Grove shipments. That’s the best part of shopping with Grove: I never have to worry about running out to buy paper towels before a party, because Grove helps me stay stocked up on high ­quality supplies. I simply choose my favorite products, schedule my shipment, and Grove delivers everything right to my door (carbon offset). It’s effortless, and unbelievably affordable.

Want to get your Caldrea set and see for yourself why I love Grove? Here’s how it works:

1. Sign up for Grove Collaborative HERE and you will receive the Caldrea offer for FREE!

2. Answer 4 quick questions about your home that Grove Collaborative will then use to customize your products — this takes under 30 seconds!

3. Once you’ve answered the questions, you can finalize your basket of products to suit your household needs by adding or removing items.

4. To receive this offer, your order needs to be a minimum of $20. Choose the combination of products and scents you love and receive in your first box.

5. You made it! Click Finish & Pay and place your order.

Don’t forget this special offer is only available until July 24 or while supplies last. Bonus savings tip: Don’t forget to sign up for Grove Collaborative’s free 60 day VIP trial after you complete your first order! I love being a VIP. It saves me time and makes shopping with Grove even more affordable. For 60 days, you can save too, with free gifts and shipping, price matching, exclusive sales, and personal service.

Whatcha’ waiting for? Get yo’ free stuff people!

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The Three I’s for Showing Hospitality in 2016

This month my focus on lè blog, is to help you start 2016 off with intentionality and grace.  So today, I asked my sweet friend Kitty, to share a little something with you lovelies. Kitty has a real knack for showing hospitality. She isn’t flashy or over the top. She is genuine, thoughtful and able to pull off awesomeness on a tight budget! Kitty and her husband are no strangers to having people in their home, so she seemed like the perfect fit for a post about hospitality. Plus, I love her sass, wit and way with words.  So…check out some of her tips for doing hospitality well this year!

Be more intentional about showing hospitality in 2016 with these three tips from my friend Kitty Hurdle!

I remember starting my first big girl job in a city where I knew absolutely no one. At first it was thrilling to spread my wings, but by the middle of the second week, I realized I had no friends. Well, except for the roommate I had met on Craigslist. (Let that sink in for a second. I FOUND MY ROOMMATE ON CRAIGSLIST. But, this back was when the internet was a little less scary, and she ended up being more of the bridesmaid type than serial killer type, so it worked out.)

So, I was new to town and knew no one but my roommate, who had only lived there a few months. One evening, I shared with her my feelings of loneliness and we decided that rather than rent (another) full season of Desperate Housewives from Blockbuster–because thats what we did back then–we needed to do something about it.

Valentine’s Day was approaching (and what better time to prey on other lonely strangers) so we thought it would be really fun to host a Valentine’s brunch inviting all the girls we knew to come, eat and hang out. Except for we didn’t know any girls. So, we girded our young professional loins and headed to our favorite Zumba class at the local YMCA. We samba-ed and merengue-d and then semi-awkwardly invited every chick in the entire class to come to our party that weekend. We canvased both our work places, inviting co-workers and picked up the phone and called–because that’s what we did back then–a few random girls we’d met at our church’s single’s group. We put together the menu, a playlist and crossed our fingers somebody would show up.

Much to our surprise over 15 girls came. All of whom, by the end of our time together, admitted struggling with loneliness, worth and identity. We were amazed to see them exchanging phone numbers, becoming friends and even roommates and eventually even bridesmaids in each other’s weddings!!

What came from that feeble attempt at hospitality ended up bringing lifeline and lifelong friendships. My good ole Craigslist roomie and I were so thankful we had stepped out of our own feelings of isolation and  invited others along in our search of community.

Fast forward a few years and I found myself, a newly wed bride experiencing the same feelings. This time in a new town with another new job. A few years later, as new parents my husband and I were in the same place of needing friends. And I’m sure you can relate in your various seasons of life. It seems these same feelings are exposed in our hearts every time we experience transition.

Regardless of your season or stage, here are 3 ways to cultivate a hospitable heart with the hopes of creating lifelong community:

Investigate

A hospitable heart is secure in Christ and can put others before themselves in word, deed, thought and action.

In conversation we have to learn to practice “there you are” vs. “here I am” conversation habits. We have to be diligent to train ourselves to ask questions about others, learn more about what makes people tick and figure out what their needs are. If we can see people as greater than ourselves then we can move into their world from a place of love, not trying to “get” something from them. Then we can truly practice hospitality.

*Today, when you see that co-worker who seems stressed, that parent in the carpool line or the neighbor getting their mail, do a little investigating. Perhaps try, “Hey, tell me how you’ve felt about 2016 so far.” See how they’ve felt and see if there are ways you can dig deeper into their lives to offer hospitality. Follow up with an email, phone call or text inviting them to get together for coffee or to an activity going on in your town.

Invite

A hospitable heart is secure in Christ as can invite others into their mental, physical and emotional space.

It’s a sacrifice to open your time to call someone for the sheer benefit of blessing them and not yourself. It can be humbling to open your messy house to the friend who’s husband is working late and is about to lose it with her kids. And it can throw a kink in your schedule to offer to serve someone when you’re day is already scheduled out to the minute. But when we leave margin for invitations, our souls will be deeply blessed!

*Today, maybe it looks like texting that stay-at-home mom and asking her if there’s anything she needs from Walmart. Maybe it’s asking the person sitting alone in front of you at church if they want to go to brunch with you and some friends after the service. Or, perhaps it’s inviting a bunch of randoms in your life to a soup and salad night at your house. Invite, invite, invite. Perhaps mark one night on the calendar each month that is your “night to invite”. Order pizza, buy a few of those caesar salad mix kits, light a few candles and have one meaningful question on hand to discuss.

Involve

A hospitable heart doesn’t seek to entertain and impress, but to involve people in experiencing the goodness of God from the context of their own life.

How can you involve people in what you’re already interested in and in what you’re already having to do? IT DOESN’T HAVE TO INVOLVE FANCY CHINA PATTERNS.

Are you eating today? Invite someone to join you.

Are you branching out and inviting someone to come over for supper? Ask them to bring dessert.

Do you have little people in the home? Train them in the art of hospitality.

We are trying to train our children in the practices of hospitality. We ask them to think through good questions they can ask people who come into our home. We ask them to set the table and help us make the house a little extra cozy. We encourage them to be hospitable with their own friends, inviting them to our house to play. But it takes some intentionality to involve our children. How can you involve others in your daily life and in helping you practice hospitality?

*Today, try to team up with a friend to run errands or to visit a friend who is struggling. Maybe this weekend, host a coffee and parfait bar on Saturday morning and ask two other friends to each invite a friend. Or download the app GroupMe and ask a few people you’ve been wanting to get to know if they want to help start a monthly book club.

Investigate, invite and involve from a heart filled with God’s love. All day, every day.

Practicing hospitality is one of the most rewarding pleasures on earth. We were created for community and to live life together.

How can you practice hospitality today? 

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Kitty Hurdle practices hospitality, writes and serves as a campus missionary in Oxford, Mississippi. She blogs at www.joelandkitty.com and would love to offer you a list of 100 Conversation Starters for you to use as you practice hospitality in your daily life.

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Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s day is just around the corner, so hopefully you’ve already thought of something sweet to give the mommas in your life! Just in case you feel a little stuck…here are some ideas!

Stitch Fix

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It’s like her own personal stylist with items sent directly to her door! This is a really cool service, that she would get some cool new clothes out of!

L’Occitane Almond Shower Gel

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I love, love, love this Almond Shower Oil! It is not something I can afford everyday, but it is an awesome gift!

A Nest Necklace

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I sent my Mother-in-law one of these last year and she loved it! These necklaces are hand-made by a friend I went to college with. Super meaningful, and super cute!

Rodan + Fields

Mother's Day

Rodan and Fields’ results speak for themselves. You can go with a cute but power packed gift package like the one above, or with one of our main regimens. Either way, the mom in your life will be a happy camper! (Don’t forget to enter the REDEFINE giveaway!)

Life Lived Beautifully Journal

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Gretchen’s heart is for women to know and love God through the His word! She is a breath of fresh air, and a huge encouragement (seriously people, follow her on IG)! Grab the moms in your life one of her journals, and give them the gift of drawing close to God!

Tickets to the Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference 2016

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Ya’ll, this conference was amazing. I am still listening to the talks. I listen to the regularly. It isn’t until next summer (tickets will be on sale sometime this fall), but my friends and I already have a plan. This would be an amazing gift to the ladies in your life!

Don’t forget that moms love some time off…so if all else fails, give her a night out with the girls, a coffee shop morning break or someone to come and clean the house! No need to go overboard, just be thoughtful, and let mom know how much you appreciate her!

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Are you a busy woman juggling faith, work, home and family?

I am too.

Sometimes women like us can get so focused on helping others that we forget to take some time for ourselves. We don’t set aside time to spend with God, and  workouts fall to the wayside. I get it. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have another minute in my day to spare. But, if we don’t take our spiritual and physical health seriously, we won’t be able to work, serve and love well. We will end up a hot mess of frustration and anxiety.

I hear ya’ sister…that struggle is real, and I feel it every day!

That’s why I am committed to helping women like you refocus their faith and get in shape. Because when we are planted in God’s Word, and feeling healthy and confident, we can go out and do all of those things God calls us to do, and we can do them excellently!

Sign up below and get my 3 Day Faith and Fitness Quick Start Guide for Busy Women. In it you will find 3 days of Bible study (looking at a different Psalm each day), and 3 quick, effective and simple workouts for you to do at home! This guide is totally FREE and will take you less than 30 minutes to go through each day!

 Sign up here, to snag yours!

Quickstart

 

 

 

Five Practical Tips for Showing Hospitality

So, today is the day we get down into the nitty-gritty of showing hospitality. I have talked a little about what hospitality is, and what it is not, and on Wednesday, we looked at the people we are supposed to be showing hospitality to. Today, I want to give you a few ideas, and some quick and simple tips for showing hospitality to those in your sphere of influence.

Heart of Hospitality

1. Invite people over for a meal.

Yep. I told you, this wasn’t going to be rocket science. But, it has to start with an invite. So, text, call, face to face, FB…it really doesn’t matter. Just invite a couple, a single, a friend, a stranger or a family over for a meal.

  • Find out if there are any dietary issues or allergies your guests might have.
  • Make a simple, go-to meal or order something. Your time with your guests is what is important, not the perfection of the meal. So, don’t go over the top.
  • If you have animals, find out if they are allergic. If so, consider taking them out for pizza or a quick meal instead.
  • Think of people who might not have a place to go for holidays. Maybe their families are out of town, or they don’t really have family. Invite them over for Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter. Some sweet friends of ours always did this for us, since we didn’t live near our families. They ended up becoming our family in SC, and we are still so thankful for them. Those holidays are some of our favorite memories from our time there.

2. Open your home up to overnight guests.

When people are in town and need a place to stay, do your best to offer it. Often people don’t mind sleeping on couches or on the floor, so if you can make your home available, do so. Remember it isn’t about looking perfect or like you have it all together, it is about making others feel welcomed in your home.

  • Provide towels, and small bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body wash in the room that they are staying in. (We save all of our hotel shampoos and things like that, to use for our guest room. Also…many of my friends are AMEN-ing right now…because I am notorious for never having a hand towel in the guest bathroom. I am now mildly reformed in this regard and try to always remember to stick one in there!)
  • Give them some time to settle and unwind before gathering them to chat (unless they want to start that right away).
  • Show them where things are so that they feel comfortable getting some water or a snack.
  • Post the wifi password in the room they are staying in. I just saw a cute framed version of that somewhere on Pinterest.

3. Host your teen’s friends.

A simple game night or movie night will do. Teens are entertained easily, so usually these are pretty low maintenance. Our girls know that friends can always come over. They might get some mac and cheese for dinner, but they are always welcome. This not only shows hospitality but it helps us stay connected with our girls and their friends; making our home a center of activity!

  • Provide some snacks (bags of chips, or boxed brownies) but have the teens bring some snacks as well.
  • Sneak in on a game, or sit down and chat with your teen’s friends. Use this time to get to know the people they are spending time with.

4. Bring someone a meal.

Whether they have just had a baby, are sick, grieving or just going through a hard time, prepare or order them a tasty meal, to take something off of their plate. I am actually really bad at this, but it’s an area I am working on. I often forget, and lack the cooking skills necessary to really do this well. But, this is super helpful to people going through times of transition, so I try to at least order a pizza for them, or pick something up for them.

  • Check for allergies.
  • If you can’t make them something, grab a rotisserie chicken, or order them some takeout. Your goal is not to impress, but to meet a need of theirs.
  • Sometimes people love having company over to chat when you drop off a meal, and sometimes they don’t. Be sensitive to the fact that they might just want to say a quick hello when you drop the meal off.

5. If you have the space, consider allowing someone to live with you.

Maybe you live in a college town and could house an out-of-town student. Maybe there is a single mom in need of some help, and you have the room. In the past, we have had two awesome young ladies live with us while they were raising support to go on staff with Cru. They lived with us rent free, and helped us with our girls during the week. This could also look like fostering children, or caring for those coming out of prison or rehab.

Obviously, this list could go on and on. For practical ideas on how to set up a guest room, set a table, or easy to carry meals…hop on over to Pinterest. But, remember that those things in and of themselves are not really the point. Our goal in showing hospitality, is to share God’s love with those around us. With hospitality, we are putting our guests and their needs at the center, not our own performance.

What are your favorite ways to show hospitality? What are some simple tricks or tips you might have?

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The Heart of Hospitality-Part 2

I started this series about hospitality on Monday, so if you missed that post, check it out. In it, I shared about what hospitality is, and what it is not. Today I want to take a quick look at who we are called to show hospitality to.
Heart of Hospitality

Before we dig into that, I think it is important to look at who the Bible calls to showing hospitality. While it is a requirement for being an elder, it is really a requirement for all believers. The New Testament regularly talks about our need to be hospitable. So, just because you don’t have the “gift of hospitality”, does not mean that you are off the hook. We are all called to be open to loving and serving others in our homes, and with our time.

One disclaimer before we start: God places our families in our homes for a purpose, and they are to be the first recipients of our grace and hospitality. Those within our family could easily fit into any of the following categories. Ensuring that our children and spouses and extended family members receive the grace and gospel through our hospitality should be the first who in we look to in living hospitably. Obviously, hospitality looks different for those within our family, but the heart behind it remains the same.

Okay…on to the “who” of giving out our hospitality.

The church and fellow laborers for the gospel

The Bible is filled will verses about showing hospitality to the brethren, to believers and to those who are laboring for the sake of the gospel. Paul writes about it in Romans, Peter in 1 Peter, and John in 3 John. It is clear that our hospitality should extend to those who are in the family of God. We are told to share with members of the family of God who are in need. We are called to live with our homes and our time open and available to the saints.  Paul also commends those who have shown hospitality to him on his missionary journeys.

Strangers

While we are told to show hospitality to the believers we know, we are also told to care for strangers by being hospitable towards them as well. Hebrews talks about how we might be serving angels when we are showing hospitality towards those we do not know.

Those who are in need

In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus reminds us that what we do for the “least of these” we do to Him. Hebrews reminds us to remember prisoners and those who are mistreated.

So…what does this look like in our lives. While this will be a little different for each of you based on where you live and your stage in life, these lists are a good start!

Believers in your life

  • Those who are new to the church.
  • Singles
  • College students who may not have family in the area.
  • Young couples
  • Single Parents
  • Pastors and those in ministry full time
  • Missionaries

Non-believers and Strangers

  • CoWorkers
  • Neighbors
  • Those who are new to your area
  • Parents from your child’s school, or sports teams
  • Friends from a different faith or culture

Those who are in need

  • Those who are struggling spiritually
  • Refugee families
  • Those who are struggling financially
  • Foster children
  • Those coming out of prison or rehab
  • Women in abusive relationships
  • Anyone without a support system in place

Basically, we are called to show hospitality to everyone. This is why hospitality has to be about a more than just a well planned dinner party. Being hospitable, opening up your home and giving your time to others, communicates that you value them. It puts you face to face with someone and lets them know that you see them; that you care for them.  Hospitality can be a bridge to long, meaningful relationships that would have never been established had someone not reached out.

So, look around you. Who are the people in your life with whom you might want to be intentional? How can you begin showing hospitality to those people this month?

AND……Come back on Friday for some practical ideas that don’t involve Pinterest or centerpieces ;)!

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