Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lee's To Do List

I wish I knew how to sew.  This Ruffle Flower Scarf (@ Mama Says Sew) is simply stunning.  Especially in the white.

Wouldn't it be fun to make these Snow Crystals (@ E-How)?  My kids would flip over these.

What a great resource this is... 25 Vegan Recipes from Breakfast to Dessert (@ The Kitchn)!  I especially want to try those Asian Summer Rolls.

Speaking of resources, check out this 100+ Great Date Night Ideas (@ The Nest).  So many ideas here that go hand in hand with 52 First Dates.

These little Molten Chocolate Pots (@ Sweet Little Smoothie) look dangerous.  Or romantic!  Why is bite size food so fun?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

2011 Summer Photo Challenge: Summer Sky

Photograph that Summer Sky!

Well, my hard drive is still very full.  So I'm borrowing a photograph again.  For this week's challenge, I'm digging deep into the archives and pulling out a photo from 2003.  This was the first time my husband and I traveled together overseas and we worked with a group in Ukraine.  It was an incredible month, in one of my favorite places, with some fantastic people.

About mid-way through our trip we took these photos:

So did you Photograph that Summer Sky? Did you take pictures this week?  Join us as we chronicle our lives this summer and document what makes each of us special.  Link up to a specific post below and don't forget to invite others to join us.  The more of us that get involved, the more fun!

Next week's challenge: What color says summer to you?

*Linked to these Parties and Weekend Bloggy Reading

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Practicing Hospitality: Hospitality and Others

Welcome to our chapter six discussion of Practicing Hospitality.  For eight weeks, we'll take a chapter and open it up for discussion.  I'll start us off with a summary of the chapter and then open the linky for questions and thoughts.  Even if you're not reading the book, feel free to add to the conversation.  May you be blessed!

Previous chapters:

Chapter Six: Hospitality and Others
Who are the "others" in your life?  It's so easy to remember the families that we love or the friends that we enjoy.  And they are in our lives for a reason.  However, in understanding true biblical hospitality, we are challenged to reach out to everyone.  So who are these others?

First let's start with an understanding of biblical compassion.  Mark 8:1-2 illustrates how Christ was moved with compassion for the crowd who had nothing to eat.  Biblical compassion moves the focus off us and unto others.  It's not about how I can serve others, but rather focusing on what they need.  The authors offer this equation:

The friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers motivated by the longing to demonstrate biblical kindness and love


A sense of empathy for the distress of others coupled with the desire to minimize that distress and demonstrate kindness and mercy


Compassionate Hospitality

Scripture points time and time again to several instances where hospitality was extended not only by emotion, but by the action it invoked.  Several examples are given for putting compassionate hospitality into action: 
*providing material needs
*fasting for others
*assisting with the needs of others, etc.

Several categories of people are listed as examples for extending hospitality:
*Singles--remembering to invite a cross selection of guests for dinner, singles have the gift of being able to minister in a unique way, more time to engage in relationships (practice hostessing, offer tea, etc)
*Widows--loss of married friends after spouse's death, offers a wealth of life experience, widows CHOOSING to initiate and not remain alone
*The Grieving--providing a nurioushing meal to deal emotionally, knowing when to leave the meal and when to comfort, use disposable containers, remembering them after the "crisis period"
*Hospital Hospitality--call before you visit, providing healthy snacks/snack meal for family staying at the hospital, restaurant gift cards, offer to stay with patient so family can get rest or run errands, provide reading and game material, purchase a phone card, include your children if possible, provide follow-up visits after the patient goes home
*Dietary Restrictions--always ask/ always be up front when an invitation is extended, expand your meals to include low-fat, diabetic, vegetarian, etc
*Food Insecure--donating to a church facility or community resource, volunteering as a family, hosting an event where the "admission" is food to be donated
*Large Families(my addition)--large families can often be excluded from hospitality due to their size.  Think creatively how you can extend hospitality by hostessing a potluck, breakfast, ice cream social, or dessert.

This Week's Discussion:
1. Review the Compassionate Hospitality Equation.  Write your own equation and place it in a prominent place that will challenge you to put the equation into action.  Evaluate each time you extend hospitality against your equation by writing down what was successful and what you will change the next time you practice.

2. Read about some of the women recorded in the Bible who chose to extend compassion.  Create a chart including the woman and reference, her actions, and ways God is calling you to follow her example.  Pharaoh's daughter (Exodus 2:6-10),  Hebrew midwives (Exodus 1), Ruth (Ruth 1-4), Mephibosheth's nurse (II Sam 4), the widow of Zarephath (I Kings 17:17-24), the Jewish maid (II Kings 5:1-5, 14-15), the women at the tomb (Matthew 28), Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-45), the women following Jesus (Luke 8), and Dorcas (Acts 9: 36-42).

3. Develop a list of resources that will provide you with the knowledge you need to develop menus for individuals with dietary challenges and food allergies.

Next Week:
Join us next Thursday Aug 4th for chapter seven: Hospitality and Culture

Linky Party:
Feel free to link up below if you're discussing Practicing Hospitality on your blog.  We love hearing your thoughts and being encouraged in this journey together.  Can't wait to hear what you're thinking.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Stewarding Your Story: The Little Things

The following was originally posted in Sept of 2008.  In sharing our stories, I am reminded that God works in the small ways as well.  He knows our every need and moves in our lives on a daily basis.  This is just one situation where He's blessed our family and written our story.

When my husband switched jobs in January, he took a position that did not offer health insurance.  Although I supported his decision, I was frustrated with the fact that we would have to find new doctors, new dentists, and a new pediatrician.  I had a great relationship with my doctor and dentist, and we loved our pediatrician.  But the job was something that God was leading my husband toward so we took the leap of faith.

Since then, we've enrolled the kids in Medi-cal, my husband has been more careful with his glasses, and I have looked into Family Planning.  Everyone has been getting their check-ups and staying healthy.  The only bump in the room has still been to find a dentist, but we know it will work out.

All was running along smoothly until I returned from a family reunion earlier this week.  I hadn't been home 24 hours when I developed Mastitis.  That's a fun little condition.  If you've never had it, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.  Very uncomfortable and very hard to recover from with two little ones in the house.  Rather than pack the kids up for a trip to the walk-in clinic, I decided to bit the bullet and pay out of pocket for a visit to my regular doctor.

  A friend offered to watch the kids so I wouldn't have to pay a babysitter and we were on our way.  When I arrived at the doctor's office that morning, I explained my situation to the receptionist and told her that I would be writing her a check.  She had me fill out the paperwork and kept telling me it would just be a bit longer as the doctor was out delivering a baby.

In the end, I saw the Nurse Practitioner who confirmed my diagnosis and promised to write me a prescription.  As I was walking up to the receptionist at the end of my visit, she handed me the prescription and explained that there would be no charge for the visit.  I was shocked.  I'm sure my jaw dropped to the floor.  

I know that the Lord's hand was working in this situation.  I tried to not worry about the Lord's provision in the situation and just do what I knew my body needed.  And through the morning, He showed his faithfulness both in providing a wonderful babysitter and a free doctor's visit.  It's times like these that I wonder how I've ever questioned His faithfulness.  What a blessing this experience was and what a blessing of encouragement it will be as I share it with others.
My doctor, Baby Girl, and Me
*Linked to these Parties

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lee's To Do List

If you've got a new little one in your life, this DIY Swaddle Blanket (@ Prudent Baby) looks perfect.  We loved swaddling our littles.

School is coming up quick.  So these Back To School Free Printables (@ Living Locurto) are on my list.  I love the lunch box menus.

It's only July, but I'm already craving the fall flavors of this Apple-Cinnamon Upside Down Cake (@ Martha Stewart).  Doesn't that look yummy?

I'm dying to try this DIY Chest Rub (@ A Delightful Home).  The more home remedies we try, the more excited I become about trying more.

These 5 Adoption Myths You Shouldn't Believe (@ Steady Mom) are so true.  I keep that one bookmarked to re-read.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

2011 Summer Photo Challenge: Summer Bag

What's in your Summer Bag?  Where are you going?

I'm cheating a little bit this week.  My hard drive has hit it's maximum limit and just won't take another photo.  So while I did take a new photo this week, I can't show it to you.  Sorry!  This is last year's.  But let me tell you what we've got going on...

Bags are my life, especially in the summer.  We live out of bags.  The black bag on the left is my cruise bag.  I love it.  I love the black and the handles are braided rope.  So much fun.  That's been my extra gym bag 'cause it's so roomy.  Towels, gym clothes, hair brush, and running shoes... week three of couch to 5k so those running shoes are coming with me.

The middle bag is another favorite.  And the only way I can keep it white is to use if for a very specific purpose.  So it's become our library bag.  And believe me, it's packed.  Last time I checked, we have 25 items checked out from the library.  I always prep the kids and tell them they can check out 3 books and 1 video.  But somehow they end up sneaking in extra books or I pick up some audio books.  It quickly adds up.  

And finally the bag on the right is our pool bag.  Swimsuits, diving sticks, sunscreen, ... all of it.  I just keep it hanging in the garage and it's easy to grab on our way out the door.  Plus it's mesh so it's perfect for anything that gets spilled or wet.  Love it!

So what's in your summer bag?  

Did you take pictures this week?  Join us as we chronicle our lives this summer and document what makes each of us special.  Link up to a specific post below and don't forget to invite others to join us.  The more of us that get involved, the more fun!

Next week's challenge: Photograph that Summer Sky!

*Linked to these Parties and Weekend Bloggy Reading

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Practicing Hospitality: Hospitality and Your Home

Welcome to our chapter five discussion of Practicing Hospitality.  For eight weeks, we'll take a chapter and open it up for discussion.  I'll start us off with a summary of the chapter and then open the linky for questions and thoughts.  Even if you're not reading the book, feel free to add to the conversation.  May you be blessed!

Previous chapters:

Chapter Five: Hospitality and Your Home

Our homes should fulfill two purposes:
*As a place of Refuge:
  --opening our homes as a place for escape
  --hosting leadership or church meetings
  --treating each guest as someone to be cared for
  --opening our homes for those in need

*As a center for Evangelism:
  --"Hospitality is more than entertaining... It is focusing on our relationships" (pg 136).
  --quoted from a former student of the author concerning opening their home, "I can't say that we often sit down and share the gospel, but our lives are centered on Christ and we don't hide that" (pg 137).
  --creating a sense of calm and ease

Consecrating Our China for Our Master's Use
Consecrating our china has less to do with HOW we serve and more to do with realizing WHO makes it possible for us to serve.  Until we realize that it's God working in us and dedicate our efforts to Him, we will be missing the point.  And while we may wish it to be a simple "to-do list," the act of being consecrating will take our lifetimes to finish.

Hosting a Consecrated China Tea
  *(While I don't firmly believe this as the most appropriate way to show hospitality, it does illustrate the type of hospitality we are striving for.  Think back to the last time you shared tea with someone.  What made it special?  It was all the extra thought put into the event.  You knew that the hostess was thinking of just you and taking precious time from their day to create a unique and thoughtful gift... just for you.  

  Now think of the last time you hosted someone in your home.  Did they feel the same way?  Were you able to relax enough to allow them to know you were thinking of just them?)

1. Begin with praying for your time together.  Ask for the Lord's strength, patience, graciousness, and any other areas in which you are lacking.  Ask Him to be glorified in your home and for you to graciously open this home when He has so lovingly given you.

2. Handwritten invitations add to the special touch.

3. Prepare:
  *pray for your guests daily
  *prepare your menu with a variety of sweet/savory
  *practice making a pot of tea
  *make a timeline of your preparations and event

Personally I felt this section of the book was lacking.  It was too heavy on the preparation for a tea and not heavy enough on actually spending the time in relationships.  Let's ask ourselves: why would be throw such an event?  Perhaps it's your personality.  Perhaps not.  How can we take this same spirit of thoughtfulness and apply it to other hospitality events?

This Week's Discussion:
1. Acquaint yourself with the examples of biblical men and women who provided refreshment for those who communicated the gospel.  Create and complete a chart including the example, the reference, and practical way you can follow their example.

2.  Consider a way you can extend the special atmosphere of a tea to a group of ladies in your circle.  How can you host your own "tea" whether that's tea or dinner?

3.  Craft your own prayer thanking the Lord for the home you've been given.  Ask him to teach you how to open it and welcome those in need of refuge with receiving arms.

Next Week:
Join us next Thursday Jun 28th for chapter six: Hospitality and Others

Linky Party:
Feel free to link up below if you're discussing Practicing Hospitality on your blog.  We love hearing your thoughts and being encouraged in this journey together.  Can't wait to hear what you're thinking.
*Linked to these parties

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Isn't it how amazingly simple a banana is?  A simple yellow piece of readily available fruit.  



But to a child in an orphanage...

          A child forgotten....
                    A child alone...

It's dessert.  A full tummy.  Knowing that someone cares!   

We often forget how little it takes to change the world.  The state of our economy, the direction of our country, the scope of the world's need is daunting.  And in our frustration we loose hope ourselves.  How can we possibly make a difference?

I was speaking with a group of moms tonight and we were talking about how to foster compassion in our children and still temper it with wisdom.  It got me thinking about why we're so concerned.  Why do we have to explain to them the ills of the world?  Why can't they just love?

Love with a banana...

          Love with a warm meal...

                     Love with hope!

Who knew Hope was Yellow?  

For more ways to make a difference, check out Little Lambs and Mercy House Kenya.

*Linked to Writer's Workshop and these parties.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Healthy Eating... On the road

Summer is in full swing and we are busy.  It’s so easy to give up healthy eating in the summer months amidst all the hustle and bustle of activity.  We’ve been guilty of it on occasion.  Summer is the busiest time of the year for us.  Summer T-ball, swimming, and visiting family can all add up to some very unhealthy choices.

But there are some easy ways to stay in the habit.  With a little forethought and a little time, healthy eating on the road can be accessible.  Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking:

*Wraps—Everything from peanut butter and jelly to chicken salad is more fun in a wrap.  But if you’re looking for something new, try salmon spread.  Mix your leftover salmon with some chopped celery, onions, and lemon pepper.  Spread on your wrap with cream cheese and top with fresh veggies.

*Pasta salad—There are so many things you can do with pasta salad from chicken to shrimp.  Try a classic pasta salad with chicken, tomatoes, olives and onions, or go for something creamy with shrimp, green onions and light mayo.  For a change of pace, experiment with shells, rotini, and orzo.

*Rice salad—Combine brown rice, chicken, sliced grapes, celery, onion, slivered almonds, and plain yogurt. Experiment with seasoning.  Try curry, lemon pepper, or basil and oregano.

*Tuna Spirals or Pizza Rolls—Why not make a tribute to some old classics?  Pick up some pre-prepared pizza dough and roll out in a rectangle.  For tuna spirals:    For Pizza Rolls: lightly spread pizza sauce, cheese and 1-2 toppings.  Roll up dough and slice.  Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Round out your meals with any of the following:
Trail mix
Fresh fruits and veggies
Yogurt cups
Hardboiled eggs
Ants on a log
Cheese and crackers

And of course, don't forget the water!

Most of all, have a wonderful time traveling with your family.  Do the best you can, but don't beat yourself up if you find yourself making a quick run through the drive through.  These tips are simply meant to help you think creatively about what goes in your body when.

How are you staying on top of healthy summer eating?

*Linked to these Parties

Lee's To Do List

This Anthro-inspired Necklace (@ Home Sweet Homebodies) would make a great gift.  So pretty!

Love this Mason Jar Meal (@ The Decorated Cookie).  Some great ideas for my next picnic with the kids.

Being a blogger without Photoshop can be rough.  But Weekend Homemaker shows us how to Create a Mood Board in Picasa.  Great tutorial!

With a preschooler in our house, I really appreciate the perspective of Is Preschool a Necessary Expense (@ Moms in Need of Mercy).  How true!

I'm absolutely drooling over this Best Ever Strawberry Cake (@ Southern Hospitality).  Anyone care to join me?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

2011 Summer Photo Challenge: Your Front Door

What's on Your Front Door?

Well, we have a beautiful front door that I've been too afraid to hang anything on.  But just beyond our door, where the mail slot is, there's a perfect spot for welcoming guests.  Each summer I put out this wreath.  I've had it for years.  When we lived in Sacramento, my mom visited one weekend and we made it together.  For awhile it hung in the living room, but since moving into this house, it's been my summer wreath.  A reminder of good memories and wonderful family.

So that's what we're doing at our house.  Are you ready to show us What's on your front door?  Did you take pictures this week?  Join us as we chronicle our lives this summer and document what makes each of us special.  Link up to a specific post below and don't forget to invite others to join us.  The more of us that get involved, the more fun!

Next week's challenge: What's in your Summer Bag?  Where are you going?

*Linked to these Parties and Weekend Bloggy Reading

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Practicing Hospitality: Hospitality and Management

Welcome to our chapter four discussion of Practicing Hospitality.  For eight weeks, we'll take a chapter and open it up for discussion.  I'll start us off with a summary of the chapter and then open the linky for questions and thoughts.  Even if you're not reading the book, feel free to add to the conversation.  May you be blessed!

Previous chapters:

Chapter Four: Hospitality and Management

So what does Management have to do with Hospitality?  What exactly do we mean by Management?
Here's what the authors have to say:  "Management skills are important for Christian women primarily because such skills are the key to extending hospitality with ease, enjoyment, and resourcefulness... Management helps us to maximize our time, energy, and resources.  Simply put, management helps us to be good stewards.  Likewise, management allows us to plan and organize events so we are free to focus on our real priority--people! "(pg 103).  The focus is on planning and organizing.  Planning implies that we are ANTICIPATING an opportunity to extend hospitality.  We know it's coming and we are EAGERLY awaiting the chance.  Thus we come to the term "planners of generosity" which breaks down to three important areas: refuse idleness, manage your home, and prepare for graciousness.

Refuse Idleness
  *The opposite of idleness is diligence.
  *Proverbs 21:5--The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.
  *"Our diligent work ethic reflects that we view our home as our place of employment" (pg 105).
  *We work hard, make a consistent effort, and are industrious.
  *This is a hard section for me as I tend to this side anyway.  My personal lacking is in remembering that I have small children and the time I spend with them now will set the tone for our relationship in the future.  I have to balance my own industriousness with these two little relationships I'm cultivating.

Manage your Home
  *"... a well-managed home views hospitality as a lifestyle--not an event" (pg 106).
  *Keeping a well-managed home allows us to relax when we invite others in.  Our home will and always should be "lived in" with kids.  But there's a difference between home and chaos.
  *"Preparation for guests should never alienate your own family members by creating a sterile, untouchable home.  Your home is first for your family" (pg 111).

Prepare for Graciousness
  *"A hostess should desire to respond in graciousness at all times--regardless of the behavior of her guests... and circumstances..." (pg 112).  Remember, you control your attitude.
  *Develop reliable menus based on time constraints and group size.
  *Utilize freezer meals or items that can be prepared ahead.
  *Set up a hospitality notebook: event prep, guest info, ideas, resources, menus, and memorable moments.

I want to touch on two more points that were brought up in this chapter.  The authors talk about planning your purpose for hospitality and encouraging meaningful conversation.  These are both so true particularly for the fast-paced culture that we live in.  As we discussed in chapter one, our purpose for hospitality is not to show off, but rather that our generosity would reflect the love of Christ.  When preparing for hospitality our pray should be that our homes would be a place of rest unlike what this world has ever known.  

Encouraging meaningful conversation is a part of that.  Our lives are jam packed.  One night with friends is often all we get before we're off in a thousand directions.  Being intentionally involved in each other lives takes planning or the evening simply passes in idol chit chat.  Or worse yet, gossip.  Our prayers should be turned toward encouraging conversation that is both deep and edifying.

This week's discussion:
1. Are you a "planner for generosity?"  Consider what practical steps you need to complete in order to be prepared to extend hospitality.  Begin by evaluating the following areas:
  *Do you need to stock your pantry?  If so, make a shopping list and purchase the necessary supplies.
  *Do you know of a person in need?  If so, make arrangements to deliver a meal or ask how you can serve him.  This can also include those having babies, having surgery, caring for an elderly parent, coming home from traveling, dealing with a chronically sick child, etc.
  * Does your church have missionaries visiting in the near future?  If so, volunteer to have them stay in your home or to come for lunch after church.
  *Are your children involved in church activities?  If so, volunteer your home for a meeting location for Bible studies or other events.

2.  Set up a Hospitality Notebook.  Begin by using the sections suggested in this chapter; modify the notebook to meet your personal needs.

3.  Provers 11:16 states, "A gracious woman gets honor."  Are you a gracious woman.  What threatens your graciousness when extending hospitality?  Review the Scripture below.  Identify how graciousness is manifested in your speech, thoughts, and actions.  Pray and ask the Lord to mature you into a gracious woman, regardless of the behavior of your guests or the circumstances of your life.
Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Philippians 4:8-9; Matthew 12:33-37; Ephesians 4:25-32; Colossians 4:6; Galatians 5:13-25; Philippians 2:3-7; Titus 3:1-7.

Next Week:
Join us next Thursday Jun 21st for chapter five: Hospitality and Your Home

Linky Party:
Feel free to link up below if you're discussing Practicing Hospitality on your blog.  We love hearing your thoughts and being encouraged in this journey together.  Can't wait to hear what you're thinking.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cake Batter Ice Cream

Nothing says summer to me like homemade ice cream.  There's a rich, sugary-sweet flavor that just can't be topped.  It brings back the days of sitting on my grandparent's porch stealing chunks of ice while someone worked the crank on the old ice cream maker.  Bowls of rich vanilla cream drizzled in blackberry jelly... afternoons in the sprinkler... and falling asleep in the sun.

Yes it really is "comfort in a bowl."

So when I came across this Cake Batter Ice Cream on Amy's Notebook, I knew it was one I'd have to try.

2 cups heavy cream, divided
½ cup yellow cake mix
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
3 egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups whole milk
In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of the heavy cream with the yellow cake mix, sugar, and salt.  Heat over medium heat until warm.  Meanwhile, place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth (very important).  Combine the remaining cream, vanilla, and whole milk in a large mixing bowl (original recipe calls for a sieve to catch clumps of batter; skipped this step).
Temper the egg yolks by slowly pouring a small amount of cream in at a time.   Pour the cream mixture in a steady stream, whisking continuously until completely combined.  Return to the saucepan over medium heat.  Continue heating, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan, until thickened slightly (original recipe calls for temp to be 170-175 degrees; you'll know when it's ready).
Immediately pour the custard mixture into the bowl with the remaining cream and milk and mix to blend.  Cover and chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.  Once chilled, freeze in an ice cream maker.  Wrap with thick towels and allow flavors to mix.  Can do this for up to a hour.  Store in an airtight container in the freezer.
This recipe really is wonderful and one that I look forward to enjoying for years to come.  There really is nothing like homemade ice cream and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
What's your favorite summer treat?
For more experiments, check out Amy's Notebook Experiments under the header.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Guest Posting Today...

I'm guest posting over at Pocket Full of Pink today. Karen has a great site full of ideas.  Make sure you come by and say hi.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lee's To Do List

Great advice on How to Go Green When Eating Out (@ Simple Organic).  What new step will you implement this summer?

Check out these 10 Ways to Make Art in Less Than a Hour (@ Chatting at the Sky).  Some wonderful ideas for us and our kids.

I'm in love with this Guest Room in a Hurry (@ Maria's Handmade Love).  I'd love to add some of these elements to our home.  Anyone else feel inspired?

How wonderful does this Peanut Butter Frosting (@ Tidy Mom) sound on some devil's food cupcakes?  Deadly combination!

I love this Baby Shower Corsage (@ The Autocrat).  So easy and very cute!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Honey!

We love you!

2011 Summer Photo Challenge: Your Summer Treats

What's Your Favorite Ice Cream Flavor or Summer Drink?

I have a love for all things tart and tangy in the summer.  Lemonade.. bring it on!  Squirt... gotta love it!  And this one... Lime Raspberry Cooler... devine!  They're so simple to make, but fancy enough to feel like a treat.  Here's how we came up with this one:

*Mix one can of limeade concentrate with 3 cans diet Sierra Mist.  Adjust if too strong.
*Add one bag of frozen raspberries.
*Blend together.
*Serve over ice.

They are so yummy.  I almost drank the pitcher by myself!

So that's what we're doing at our house.  Are you ready to Tell us your favorite ice cream flavor or summer drink?  Did you take pictures this week?  Join us as we chronicle our lives this summer and document what makes each of us special.  Link up to a specific post below and don't forget to invite others to join us.  The more of us that get involved, the more fun!

Next week's challenge: What's on your Front Door?

*Linked to these Parties and Weekend Bloggy Reading

Four Chances to Win...

Remember this review I did earlier in the week for Large Family Logistics?  Well now you have

Not one

Not two

But FOUR chances to win a copy yourself!

Four Moms are giving you the chance to win Large Family Logistics for yourself.

Check out:

Life in a Shoe
Smockity Frocks
Raising Olives
and The Common Room

for more details!

Good luck!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Practicing Hospitality: Hospitality and Family

Welcome to our chapter three discussion of Practicing Hospitality.  For eight weeks, we'll take a chapter and open it up for discussion.  I'll start us off with a summary of the chapter and then open the linky for questions and thoughts.  Even if you're not reading the book, feel free to add to the conversation.  May you be blessed!

Previous chapters:

Chapter Three: Hospitality and Family

The following quote establishes the basis of the chapter: "If the Lord has given us a family, extending hospitality to our family is our first priority.  Once we have established the ministry of hospitality within our family, we can then broaden our hospitality to include extended family members, friends, strangers, the needy and the poor" (pg 74).
The author's give three reasons why this is important:
1. For the sake of our integrity--extending hospitality to the world and not our families is hypocrisy
2. For the sake of our children--leading our children to feel like second class
3. For the sake of the gospel--blessing our families shows the world God's powerful work in our lives

Practicing Hospitality with a Family
"How do we keep our family a priority in the midst of reaching out to those who are in need outside our homes?... Every woman will need to evaluate her own unique family constraints and then develop strategies to assist her in promoting the welfare of her family, while at the same time allowing her to participate in the rich ministry of hospitality with people who are not in her immediate family" (pg 76-77).

1. Remember there are seasons of life-- our hospitality opportunities will NOT look the same in each season. Don't mourn the old; look for the now.
2. Partner with your husband-- having a second opinion and set of hands will keep you from overextending yourself.  Teamwork is essential.
3. Include your children-- help them to view hospitality as a way of showing Christ's love.
4. Treat your family as good as guests-- shows Christ's love for our families and models for them what hospitality looks like. 
5. Keep an orderly home-- our family benefits from our creating a comfortable place to call home.
6. Use discretion-- being wise about who and how you allow others into your home.  
7. Remember meaningful moments-- photos, journals, favorite is family traditions: weekly, monthly, and annually.

Family Traditions
1. Traditions provide a sense of stability and permanence in our homes.
2. Traditions provide a method for remembering God's work in our lives.
3. Family traditions provide a means for passing on a godly heritage to our children.

Establishing Family Traditions
1. Spiritual Heritage-- This is our priority as believers.  What traditions are we establishing to pass on biblical truth?  Examples: family devotions, extending hospitality as a family, giving, serving, spending time in worship
2. A Kindred Heritage--unique to your family.  Examples: unique birthday traditions (letters, calls, etc), baby books, photo albums, plants to mark the date (birthdays, anniversaries, deaths, etc), date night, pancake breakfast, theme nights.  Look for a future post on this topic.
3. A Holiday Heritage-- looking at holiday and seasonal traditions.  Examples: traditional holiday foods,  opening home on the holidays, christmas ornaments, traveling on the holidays vs staying home

This week's discussion:
1. Are you thankful or bitter about your current season in life and how it affects your hospitality opportunities?
2. Do you practice hospitality to your family?  Evaluate whether you treat your family "as good as guests."  Identify how you can specifically apply the ideas mentioned in this chapter.
3. Begin practicing family traditions.  Create a chart to list ideas and then begin adding new traditions as the seasons change or family events occur.

Next Week:
Join us next Thursday Jun 14th for chapter four: Hospitality and Management

Linky Party:
Feel free to link up below if you're discussing Practicing Hospitality on your blog.  We love hearing your thoughts and being encouraged in this journey together.  Can't wait to hear what you're thinking.
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