5 People That Need Your Hospitality

This world is full of people needing to be loved and ministered to, especially this year. This has been a rough season for so many with financial hardships, health scares, and social isolation. While everyone deserves our kindness and hospitality, I’ve realized that there are groups of people that sometimes need a little more than others. These are people that often feel loneliness first and it effects them the hardest. Maybe you’ve identified some of these people in your own circle. If so, that’s great! You can start extending hospitality to them in practical ways. If not, I’ve broken down into 5 categories the main groups of people I think we can start with. Out of these groups we can easily identify those who need a helping, or encouraging, hand. We can then use our talents and God given gifts to bless them while we practice hospitality as Christ commands.

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1.) College/Seminary students


Think back to when you were in college. You were broke, away from home, and sometimes just needed a hot meal and an ear to listen. Consider connecting with a local college or seminary. Work with student services and maybe offer to host a dinner one night for a few struggling students. Seminary is a great way to reach out to families that need a little hospitality. Care packages are another way to show some hospitality to college students. Little baskets filled with nutritious snacks, soaps, and office supplies are much appreciated. This is a practical and tangible way to be a huge blessing to this demographic.

2.) New parents


When you’ve just had a brand new baby, sometimes it’s all you can do just to survive. Offer to babysit the older children, or come rock the baby, while they nap. Consider taking them a meal a few nights during those first weeks. A great tool is a website called Meal Train. It helps set up meal schedules for new parents. See link and description on my Resources page for more information. Even just dropping off a package of diapers and wipes can be a huge blessing to overwhelmed new parents. Consider mailing them a congratulations care with words of encouragement, practical advice, or favorite parenting books.

3.) Church family


Our church family is in desperate need of our hospitality. Look around the room and you’ll see hundreds of faces crying out for help in some way. One family might need a meal or even a bag of groceries. One couple might be desperate for a date night without kids. A housewife might need to be invited out for coffee and a listening ear. Some teenagers may need a fun safe game night with friends. Visitors may need someone to sit beside them and ask about their story. There are endless opportunities to show hospitality and love in our church if we look for them. Pray as you walk int o your worship service and ask God to reveal someone that needs your hospitality this week.

4.) Out of town/country guests (for parties, weddings, or funerals)


I’ll never forget the time my husband and I had to unexpectedly drive to Florida for a funeral. It was last minute and we were searching for hotels are we were driving. We got a call that said a sweet lady that knew the family reserved a hotel for us. It was such a blessing, we wept at her kindness and praised God for His goodness. Maybe you have room in your home and can put someone up there instead of a hotel. Either way, it’s such a blessing for people to not have to worry about the hassle and cost of lodging while they’re coming in from out of town. It’s a special way to make them feel invited and welcomed.

5.) Your own family


We have to be careful that we don’t spend so much time offering hospitality to those outside our home that we neglect the ones inside our home. Our family needs our hospitality too. Your husband may need you to put down your dishrag and watch that movie with him. Your child may need you to cook their favorite meal or surprise them with their favorite dessert. Maybe it means packing a backyard picnic and leaving your phone inside to focus fully on them. It could mean a full on family vacation away from everything else. Whatever it looks like, be sure your family doesn’t suffer at your hospitable hand. Our family is, and should always be, our first mission field for hospitality. Our family should never feel like they are not as worthy of our love as our guests are.

As we practice the art of hospitality, it gets easier and we get more comfortable with it. We get more comfortable reaching out our hands, inviting in to our home, and opening up our hearts. Let us live a life of constant practice so that through us someone else may find love, healing, and rest. Keeping an open heart, and open door, is a beautiful way to fulfill our biblical command to extend hospitality.

Blessings,

Paige

4 Easy Meals for Guests

Hello and happy September! I love the Fall season so much. I love a cooler air, and color of the changing leaves, the clothes, and ALL THE SEASONAL FLAVORS! Fall is my favorite season to cook and bake (followed closely by Christmas but we’ll wait for that). There are so many warm and comforting flavor combinations and textures you can take advantage of during this season. I’m going to share 4 easy meals (with recipes) that you can whip up either very quickly, or ahead of time for company.

Last Minute Dinner Company

You got a call, dinner company coming in an hour. That’s great right? Of course it is! You’re already prepared and you’ve got a delicious fall inspired meal you can produce in less than an hour. You’re making:

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Pumpkin Alfredo

For the Roasted Chicken Thighs: 6 Servings

  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs (I always like to do a few extra in case a guest is really hungry)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2-3 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • 2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Onion powder
  • 3 tsp Dried Parsley

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400o F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl mix together dry herbs and spices.
  • Use a paper towel to pat chicken dry, then rub both sides of chicken with olive oil.
  • Rub the dry mixture all over chicken.
  • Arrange chicken skin side up on your baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165o F.
  • Let chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.

For the Pumpkin Alfredo: 6 Servings

  • 1 LB Fettuccine cooked, reserve 1 cup pasta water
  • 6 TBSP Salted Butter
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
  • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree (be careful not to grab the pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup Half & Half
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1 TBSP Fresh Parsley (optional for garnish)

Directions :

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, add fettuccine. Cook until chewy, but firm. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and discard the rest.
  • Meanwhile, melt butter over medium low heat and stir in garlic. Cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  • Stir in Half & Half, Parmesan cheese, pumpkin puree, and nutmeg. Stir until cheese is full incorporated and mixture is heated through.
  • Stir in pasta water 1/4 cup at a time until sauce is your desired consistency. ( A thick and creamy sauce need only 1/2 cup, thinner sauces will need more.)
  • Add fettuccine and cook additional 2 minutes until pasta is well coated.
  • Serve garnished with fresh Parsley and additional Parmesan cheese.

*NOTE: Utilize frozen vegetables here to add brussels sprout or green beans. I always like to keep one shelf of my freezer stocked with bags of frozen veggies that I can pop in the microwave at the last minute. Aldi has a great selection of these bags!

Feeding A Crowd

You’re talking to your husband and he asks “hey babe, do we have plans for Sunday?” He wants to have his whole family over for a Sunday lunch and catch up. Great! Let’s pull out a Fall themed feast that won’t stress to the max having to cook for 10 people. We’re making:

White Chicken Chili and Cornbread

For the White Chicken Chili: 10 Servings

  • 1 1/2 LBS boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 TBSP Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper (I like white pepper for this recipe, but you can use either)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 can (small) diced green chilies
  • 2 (15 oz) cans white beans (Drain and rinse ONE CAN ONLY. You want the liquid from the second can)
  • Desired garnishes (can include sour cream, cheese, salsa, tortilla chips, etc)

Directions:

  • In a 6-8 quart crock-pot, mix together chicken stock, spices, and chilies.
  • Add the white beans and place chicken in liquid.
  • Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  • Discard Bay leaves and remove chicken from crock-pot.
  • Using a hand immersion blender or stand blender, puree approximately 2 cups of the chili. You want the rest to be intact.
  • Slice or shred chicken and place back in the crock-pot.
  • Serve with desired garnishes and cornbread (recipe to follow)

For the Cornbread: 16 Slices

  • 2 cups Four
  • 1 cup Cornmeal
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 8 TBSP Salted Butter, melted (plus more more serving)
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 1/4 cup Whole Milk
  • 3 Lg eggs

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350o F and butter a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  • In large bowl, mix flour, cornmeal. sugar, baking powder, and salt until well mixed.
  • In medium bowl, whisk together butter, oil, milk, and eggs.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix until combined.
  • Pour into baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes, until inserted toothpick comes out with no wet batter.
  • Cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serve with butter.

*NOTE: You can use a store bought box of cornbread mix if you’d rather.

Meal Delivery for A Sick Friend

Your friend, or family, or neighbor, etc….is sick and you want to take them some Fall inspired soup that will be both delicious and healthy. You’re taking them:

Carrot Ginger Soup with Whole Wheat Bread

For the Carrot Ginger Soup: 4 Servings

  • 8 medium Carrots
  • 2/3 cup Red Split Lentils
  • 1 small Onion
  • 3 tsp grated Ginger (fresh)
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 4 TBSP coconut milk
  • Salt to taste
  • Pumpkin seeds for crunchy garnish (optional)

Directions:

  • Wash, peel, and cut carrots into chunks. Rinse and drain lentils.
  • In large pot, heat olive oil and add onion. Cook until onion starts to soften.
  • Add carrots and lentils. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add stock, salt, ginger, and turmeric.
  • Bring soup to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add in coconut milk.
  • Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth.

For the Whole Wheat Bread: 1 Round Loaf

  • 2 cups Water, warm
  • 2 tsp Salt (I like using flaky sea salt)
  • 1 tsp Yeast
  • 3 3/4 cups Whole Wheat Flour

Directions:

  • In large mixing bowl, mix together water, salt, and yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Add in flour and mix until well combined.
  • Cover dough with buttered plastic wrap or clean dish towel and let sit at room temperature overnight (or about 8 hours).
  • Place a dutch oven in your oven and pre-heat to 450o F. Once heated, carefully remove dutch oven and place on counter.
  • Flour you hands and shape dough into a circle. Drop into dutch oven.
  • Bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for additional 20 minutes.
  • Remove bread from dutch oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving or wrapping in clean cheesecloth for transport.

*NOTE: You can always save yourself time and buy a loaf of crusty whole wheat bread from your local grocer or baker.

Overnight Guests

You had some company in town and you want to make them breakfast. You don’t want them to feel like they have to get up and come to the table to be able to eat, they need to relax. You make them:

Cranberry Orange Muffins and Coffee in Bed

For the Cranberry Orange Muffins: 18 Muffins

  • 1/2 cup Pecans, chopped
  • 2 TBSP freshly grated orange peel
  • 12 oz bag fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 1 cup Sugar, divided
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 TBSP cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Orange Juice (freshly squeezed is best)
  • 2 LG Eggs, beaten

Streusel Topping:

  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Pecans, crushed
  • 4 TBSP cold unsalted butter

Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 TBSP orange juice

Directions for muffins:

  • Preheat oven to 425o F and butter a muffin tin (or you can use muffin cups).
  • Wash cranberries and drain off water. Place in medium bowl.
  • Add in nuts, orange peel, and 1/2 cups sugar and stir well to combine.
  • In large bowl combine flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
  • Cut in cold butter with a pastry blender.
  • Add orange juice, eggs, and cranberry mixture and stir to combine.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and top with streusel mixture.
  • Bake for 5 minutes at 425o F.
  • Reduce heat to 350o F and bake for an additional 16-18 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer to wire rack and drizzle glaze on top of muffins.

Directions for streusel:

  • Combine flour, brown sugar, and pecans in a small bowl.
  • Cut in butter with pastry blender.

Directions for glaze:

  • Combine powdered sugar and orange juice to make glaze. Use more or less orange juice as needed to reach desired consistency.

For the French Pressed Coffee: 4 servings

  • 8 cup (34 oz) French press
  • 10 TBSP Coffee beans, coarsely ground
  • 6 cups fresh boiled water
  • Milk

Directions:

  • Bring water to a boil, then let sit for 2 minutes.
  • If grinding your own beans (highly recommended) grind to coarse grind.
  • Measure out 10 TBSP (can add more if you like stronger coffee) and place in French Press
  • Pour hot water over ground and stir to coat all grounds.
  • Let steep for 5 minutes, then push plunger down.

* NOTE: Place plate of muffins on a tray with French press, mug, small carafe of milk, and cloth napkin. Take to guest bedroom and leave on table just outside door.

Hopefully this guide will help you in someway this Fall season! Read through the recipes, or come up with some of your own, and then make a list of things to always have on hand for an easy quick prep. I love cooking for guests, and I really love cooking for guests in the Fall season. The delicious aromas that fill my house alone are worth inviting guests over! If you have any cool Fall inspired recipes or tips that you’d like to share, drop a comment below. I would love to feature your recipe here on the blog!

Happy Fall!

Paige

Martha and Jesus: A Lesson in Priorities

If you grew up in a church then there are two particular stories that you are probably familiar with. The story of Mary and Martha, and the story of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples. Most people use the story as Mary and Martha to illustrate how we should focus more on worship than on things of this world. However, what if we looked at the story a different way? What if we looked at this story from the eyes of someone opening their home to a guests and stopped trying to over-spiritualize it? Martha and Jesus are two very different examples of hospitality. On one hand we see a hostess busy working for her guests, and on the other hand we see a host busy serving his guests. There may not seem like much of a difference at all, but as we look closer we see the difference is the focus. Martha was busy focusing on the preparations, and Jesus kept His focus on the people.

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Martha: Preparations

Luke 10: “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”  “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,  but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Jesus: People

John 13: “It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.  Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”

There is a difference between working and serving when it comes to hospitality. Working implies that you are busy with the preparation and the appearance of your home, even when company is sitting on your couch. Serving implies that you are preparing your heart for the people sitting on your couch. I am not condemning Martha at all. There is nothing wrong with working, the Bible commands and commends hard work. The problem comes when we are so busy with the work that we forget the reason for it. Martha could not stop worrying about the preparation of the meal and of her table that she failed to realize that Jesus Christ Himself was sitting in her living room. What if we treated each guest as if they were Jesus? What if we gave them our undivided attention while they were in our home, just as we would give Jesus?  Jesus says in Matthew 25 “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

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From the example Jesus set in the book of John, He sat and ate with the disciples and then got up to serve them by washing their feet, still spending time with them by serving them. I’m not saying we need to start washing our guest’s feet, but what are some practical ways to apply this truth while we have guests in our home? Here are 4 simple ways that we can practice to place our focus on the people in our home, rather than busy ourselves with preparations.

1.) Prepare ahead of time.

When you are planning to have company, do any necessary cleaning the day before. Wipe surfaces down and clean toilets. Sweep the floors clean and clear any clutter. If you are having a dinner, have as much of the food prepared ahead of time as possible. Have the table set ahead of time (set it the night before if you work a day job outside your home). Be sure that the dishwasher is empty and ready to go.

teatray.jpgIf you are someone who has unexpected or “drop-by” company often, set a daily tea/coffee tray that can be ready at a moment’s notice. To set a tea tray you’ll need a serving tray, tea/coffee pot, sugar bowl and tongs, cups with saucers, and a plate of simple shortbread cookies or scones. You can also add cocktail napkins or small pretty handkerchiefs and cream/milk to add to your beverage.

If you have space and can dedicate a cupboard or shelf to keep stock for company, that helps save time when grabbing for something quick. Good things to keep on hand are shortbread cookies, biscotti, crackers, summer sausage, block cheese, assorted tea bags, and an alternative to sugar for sweetening.

2.) Listen to your guest.

One of the biggest problems with people is that we like to talk. Talking is not a bad thing, but unless your guests came specifically for information don’t make them feel like they’re sitting through a seminar. We should listen at least twice as much as we speak. Encourage your guests to open up by asking open ended questions that require an answer more complex than a simple yes/no. When you are more interested in your guests than impressing them, you will build their confidence and let them know that they are important to you.

4.) Put your phone down.

Don’t spend your evening catching up on emails or text messages. Don’t sit there scrolling through social media while your guests are speaking to a wall. As boring and dry as some people may be, resist the urge to open your phone’s game app. Turn your focus 100% to your guests. It’s disturbing how much of our attention goes to our devices apple-email-iphone-17663and how disconnected we are because of that. Make a habit to leave your phone in the other room during meal times. Place it on silent and away from your person when you have a guest sitting with you actively talking to you. Put it in your bag or pocket when out to dinner with friends. Be sure that the people and relationships in your life aren’t suffering because you can’t put your phone down.

4.) Save the dishes until guests are gone.

This is a tough one. I’m the type of person that wants to do the dishes and clean my kitchen right after dinner. I’ve had to force myself to learn to sit them on the counter, or in the sink, and return to my guests. This makes for some late nights and it’s not always fun. But my guests feel loved. They feel the effect of my full attention. They know that I care about spending time hearing what they have to say. They feel important. And that’s what it’s all about. I say this often, but true hospitality is when your guests leave your home feeling better about themselves, not better about you. If you have company that is uneasy with leaving the dishes, you can quickly stack everything in an empty dishwasher and come back to sort it out after they’ve left. One exception to the “leave the dishes” rule is when you have overnight guests.

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Friends, in a life that’s busy and surrounded with so many distractions, let’s turn our focus on the people in our home. Let’s lift them up, listen to them, pray with them, encourage them, and love them like Jesus.

 

Paige Baldwin

Choosing Rest

Life tends to hit us out of nowhere doesn’t it? You think you’re doing great, going about your daily life, tending to your responsibilities, serving in your ministry, giving it your all. Then out of nowhere, you feel totally drained. Every ounce of energy is gone and you feel nothing. You want to close your door and your heart and retreat into yourself.

You want to know what happened? You were so busy taking care of everything and everyone else, that you failed to take care of yourself. You didn’t rest.

This can happen even if our intentions are good. We’re trying to be there for everyone, be a good hostess, reach out to the needy, and counsel the broken. But somewhere along the way we lose our drive. We get tired. If we’re not careful, that tiredness can lead places we never wanted to be.

Three things happen when we don’t take care of ourselves and rest.

1.) We make poor decisions.

A great example of this is Esau in the Old Testament.

Genesis 25:29-34 ESV: Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!”… Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob…

Esau was a hard worker and a good son. But amidst exhaustion and extreme hunger (other translations use the words famished, starving, or faint), he made a terrible life altering decision. This may seem like an extreme example, but how many of us have made poor decisions when we’re tired? How many of us had said or done things we regret under the influence of fatigue? When our bodies and minds are tired, we cannot think clearly and we are unable to make informed decisions. We were not made to function without regular rest.

2.) We get sick.

Philippians 2:25-30 ESV I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.

We don’t know for sure what illness Epaphroditus was suffering from. But the Bible says “for he nearly died for the work of Christ”. My belief is that he worked himself into exhaustion and his immune system failed. Sometimes we get so busy running around and we use God as our excuse for being exhausted! “Oh I’m so tired because I do so much for Jesus.” Stop trying to sound so spiritual. You’re not doing God any favors by wearing yourself down. You’re only opening up your body to harmful bacteria and viruses that you won’t be able to fight off because you depleted the charge on your immune system. He created you to need rest. He created the Sabbath for YOU. A whole day set apart just to rest! And it wasn’t a suggestion. He devoted an entire commandment to tell us to keep the Sabbath. We have to rest to keep our bodies and minds healthy.

3.) We experience burnout

Exodus 18: 14-23 ESV “When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?” And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God; when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws.” Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.”

Moses was sitting there handing all the people’s problems, all the time, all alone. If he hadn’t have listened to his father-in-law at this point, he would certainly have experienced burnout. We see burnout a lot in ministry. Pastors try to carry the load of the church all on their own. Whether out of obligation, a sense of duty, or a need for control. They try to counsel all the people, visit all the sick, teach all the classes, preach all the sermons, make all the decisions, and they simply were not made to do it all. We were not created to do everything all the time. We were not created to do everything. We were not created to “do” all the time. If you’ve been running and serving to the point where you feel drained, it’s time to step back before it turns to burnout. Burnout is a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity. Burnout can be destructive in the ministry, in a marriage, in a caregiving role, or really in any area of life. It’s ok to start saying no to things and people to preserve your emotional and physical state.

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So what do we do to avoid exhaustion or burnout? The Scriptures have a lot to say about resting. Resting physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Sometimes we need to put up the Do Not Enter sign and rest. Look with me at 4 steps we can take to avoid exhaustion and burnout.

1) Return to the practice of resting:

Psalm 116:7 “Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.”
Psalm 62:5 “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.”

You have permission to step back, take a break, and rest. Get into the habit of practicing the Sabbath weekly. Every month, take a weekend for renewal. And at least once a year, take a full week. Turn off your cell phone and have a staycation. Or get out of town and away from your daily routine. Use this time to lay on the beach, hike up a mountain, read by a lake, or picnic in the countryside. Rest.

2) Enter into the Father’s peace:

Psalms 4:8 “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Once we realize that we do not control this world, that we are in the hands of a great and powerful God who loves us, we can rest in peace knowing it’s not all up to us. God tells us to cast our cares and anxiety on Him. We were never meant to carry the loads we try to hold tight to. One of my favorite songs right now says “I will rest in the Father’s hands. Leave the rest in the Father’s hands”.

I will rest in the Father’s hands. Leave the rest in the Father’s hands…
I throw all my cares before You. My doubts and fears don’t scare You. You’re bigger than I thought You were. You’re bigger than I thought.

Listen to Full Song Here

3) Sabbath as we are commanded:

Exodus 20:8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Ezekiel 20:20 “Sanctify My Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God.”

Yearly vacations are optional, monthly weekend getaways are a luxury to most, but we have been commanded by our Creator to rest on the Sabbath. For most of us, that’s Sunday. However if your particular job has you working on a Sunday, you should be choosing another day each week to rest, mediate of the scriptures, and renew you body and mind.

4) Trade stress for satisfaction:

Proverbs 19:23 “The fear of the LORD leads to life, So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.
Psalm 107:8-9 “Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness…For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.”
Psalms 100:4 “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”

We get so busy with life, running around trying to accomplish so many things. We have all of these activities we juggle, people we’re trying to please, and events we’ve committed to. As humans, we’re hard to satisfy. We crave more and therefore add so much to our plate that half the time we don’t know if we’re coming or going. If you find yourself become weary time and time again, it may be time to give up some things. Re-evaluate what is important and adjust your priorities. Some activities or commitments may need to be cut. That’s ok. Another thing we tend to do is work ourselves ragged to accumulate more stuff. If we could only learn to be satisfied with what we have, we may find rest and peace soon follows.

There’s one more thing that I feel led to share. I recently went through a rough episode of insomnia. As spiritual as I wanted to be about it, no amount of reading my Bible or praying put me to sleep. Growing up I heard a lot of preachers say that if you’re not able to sleep you must have a guilty conscience. That is NOT TRUE. Period. Sometimes there are unexplained medical conditions that can hinder our rest. Let me tell you friend, if you need help, get it. Do not let anyone make you feel guilty about getting help when you need it. You may need medication, therapy, or professional counseling. There may be a severe underlying condition that you desperately need treatment for. Don’t try to do it alone. You will not be able to function without sleep and it will only add to your stress levels and quicken the onset of burnout.

Friends, we desperately need to learn to rest in this modern busy world. Rest was given to us by our Savior to use as a shield against Satan. If we’re always busy and stressed out, we cannot tend to our relationship with Christ and we’ll soon find ourselves defeated. That’s what Satan wants. He wants us tired and stressed so we give up. So we’re not able to be a light in this dark world. Don’t let him win friends. Rest in peace and rest in God. Then stand and fight.

Paige Baldwin

How to Host A Game Night

One of my favorite events to throw, or attend, is game night. Not video games. Board games. It’s so easy to throw up a few tables, stack games everywhere, set out finger foods, and invite all your friends. It can be the easiest event you ever host! It requires very little planning, a small investment for finger foods, and usually just a Facebook invite or simple text message. But the fun you’ll have is unmatched. A little healthy competition, team building strategy, and laughing until your side hurts will have you wanting to plan a game night every month!

If you’re not prepared to lose every friend you have over a board game, them you’re not playing hard enough.

There are many different ways to do a game night. You can do a specific themed game night such as Retro, Fantasy, or Sci-Fi and have everyone wear costumes and serve themed snacks. You can do a bring-your-own game night where everyone brings their favorite board game and snack item. You can even do card party games only where everyone is playing the same game all night. There are so many variations and tweaks you can make to personalize this event. I’m going to show you the easiest way to host a game night in 4 easy steps.

invitefb1.) Pick a date and send the invites.

I like to use Facebook event creator for this. Most everyone has a Facebook account now. If there’s someone you want to invite that is not on Facebook, you can send the details via text message. Facebook allows you to create an event and share details and updates in the same spot. It really works great if you’re doing a pot lock and bring-your-own-game style because everyone can see what each other will be bringing

2.) Borrow some card or folding tables and chairs.

I’ll bet you know someone you can borrow a few gaming tables and chairs from. If not, simply set up different gaming areas on different parts of you floor and throw down some small pillows.

3.) Decide if you’ll supply all games or have attendees bring their own. disneyvillainousgame

Make sure to put that in the event details. If you choose to supply all games, make sure you have enough for every to play. If you’re going to have everyone bring their own, I suggest you still set out 3-5 of your own just in case There will be somebody on your invite list that either doesn’t own any games, or will forget. You want to make sure there are still plenty of games for all to play. (My favorite games include Disney Villainous, Ticket to Ride, HP: Battle for Hogwarts, and Clue)

foodboard4.) Set out finger foods and beverages.

Since there are precious board games everywhere, I suggest staying away from red solo cups and stick with bottled or canned sodas, juices, and waters. Finger foods that are good for game night are simple, easy to eat, and make a minimal mess. Examples include: roll-ups, veggie platter, chips, mini sub sandwiches, cheese crackers, cookies, and skewers. If you want to take it up a notch, you could do pizza or walking tacos. One of the best platters to put together for a game night is a cheese platter (pictured above). You choose 3-4 different cheese varieties, 1-2 types of crackers, 2-3 types of deli meat (such as pepperoni or salami), and fruits such as berries and grapes. You can build it from there with dates, nuts, dried fruits, and candies as desired.

That’s really all there is to a basic game night event. You can change things, make it themed, make the meal a full dinner, etc. It’s so easy to personalize this type of event. I love game nights because it draws friends and family together for a time of healthy competition, laughter, and fellowship. There’s nothing more fun than sitting around a table with your best friends playing a board game.

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**If you are interested in adding to your board game collection, check out my page of Recommended Games for fun ideas! You can find there page link here, or under “Resources“.

Happy gaming!

Paige Baldwin

Gracious Guest

You have the perfect guest room. You love being the hostess. You love bringing people into your home and pampering them with love and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. But now it’s your turn. You’re the guest. The roles have switched and now you have to remember how to be a good guest. Just because you’re not the host/hostess, does not mean you don’t have the opportunity to be gracious. Let’s look at some important things to remember when you play the role of guest in someone’s home.

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1.) Remember, you’re in someone’s home, not a hotel. You may think it’s ok to leave trash everywhere and the bed unmade while you’re at the Hilton, but these are things you should never catch yourself doing when staying in someone’s home. Be respectful and keep things clean and tidy.

2.) Ask about house rules, then follow them. For example: If there is a no smoking rule, do not smoke in your bedroom. If your host asks that shoes be removed at the door, do not stomp across their carpet in your dirty sneakers. You should always show respect for the home you’re staying in.

3.) Do talk about your length of stay ahead of time. Don’t tell your host that you need a place for three nights, and then stay for a week without discussing with them your need for extending the stay.

bedroom

4.) Always make your bed. Every morning when you get up, that is the first task that should be completed. If you want to go above and beyond, then at the end of your stay, strip the dirty sheets and fold them neatly. Continue to make the bed up and place the folded soiled sheets at the foot of the bed.

5.) Use a coaster or keep your drink in your hand. Whatever you do, don’t be the person that leaves a ring on the wooden furniture, or ruins their decorative coffee table book with water spots.

6.) Be tactful during conversation. You do not have to agree with your host/hostess on matters of politics or religion, but don’t stay as a guest in someone’s home and constantly attack their beliefs. If they initiate the conversation, then it is ok to engage, but do so tactfully and graciously. (Hostess Tip: this same rule applies to you. Do not bring guests into your home, only to constantly attack their beliefs and lifestyle.)

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7.) Remember your dining etiquette. Chew with yours mouth closed, keep elbows off the table, and keep your phone put away during meal time. If you’re offered wine and wish to partake, know your limit. If you cannot control yourself, decline the wine. If you do not drink, it is ok to politely decline, but don’t launch into the 20 reasons you don’t drink while your host is holding out the bottle. A simple “no thank you” will do.

8.) Leave the bathroom clean. You are not obligated to get down and scrub floors, but do leave the room clean. Make sure all toothpaste has been washed out of the sink. Be sure to rinse all hair from the shower and sink. Hang any wet towels and neatly fold the dry ones that have been used. Wipe down the surfaces and be sure to clean your toiletries out of the shower.

9.) Say “Thank You”. You may choose to say thank you with a text message, an email, or a phone call. This is acceptable in this modern age. However, if you want to go above and beyond, a beautiful hand written note is still very much appreciated. For a longer stay, you may want to bring a small gift for your host/hostess.

Ideas for host/hostess gifts can include:

A beautiful set of Coasters

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A personalized board with cheese spreader

A small potted succulent plant

A luxury hand soap set

A luxury aromatherapy candle

A fun party game

10.) Be ready to return the favor. You may not have an entire room to dedicate to guests, but you may have a couch or an office with an air mattress. Return the favor to your host, or pass along the kindness to another. It doesn’t have to be luxurious to be a blessing.

We have a wonderful opportunity to be gracious, even when we are the guests in someone else’s home.

Paige Baldwin