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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! It’s been a while, but one of my goals for this new year is to revive our blog. Life is still as busy and crazy as ever (in a wonderful way), but I want to be more intentional about recording what goes […]

Our Second Anniversary

Our Second Anniversary

Two Years Someone told me once that they thought the second year of marriage was the hardest because any infatuation is gone and any traces of the honeymoon phase have vanished. By the second year you’re left with who you are and you’re stuck with […]

Hospitality: Why?

Hospitality: Why?

Why should you be hospitable?

You’ve spent hours cleaning your house, and there are still toys everywhere, dishes in the sink from your husband’s lunch, and you spot crumbs on the kitchen floor. Your baby is fussing and wanting to be held, but you still need to finish chopping a salad or making a sauce for the elaborate dish you’re making. What will my guests think of me if I’m still cooking when they arrive? If this sauce burns? If they see the crumbs on the floor or the dishes in the sink? If my baby is not perfectly happy when they step in the door? You begin to ask yourself a million questions, and stress and doubt begin to creep in.

You ask yourself, Why am I doing this?

The second time we ever had guests into our home after we got married, I asked myself this same question. I had only been in Romania for about two weeks, and I still didn’t know what I was doing. I agreed to have a couple over from the congregation one Wednesday night when I didn’t have anything in the apartment to cook, and the only food I had prepared was a spicy lentil stew, and Romanians typically do not like anything even slightly spicy. I was not comfortable with going to the store by myself yet, so Sam walked with me to get ingredients for soup and bread. Once the food situation was solved I began to worry about other things, such as how clean our house was, whether or not everything was in proper working order (such as the toilet or air conditioner), and of course, the fact that the couple only spoke Romanian, and I only knew two-weeks worth of the language.

I had a minor breakdown before we left to go to Bible study, wondering why I was doing this again?

First of all, being hospitable does not mean you must have a clean house or serve a fancy, elaborate dish. Second, there are many reasons for showing hospitality both for you and your guests. Here are just four reasons to overcome your stress, doubts, and worries and be hospitable.

  1. God commands us to show hospitality

There are direct commands and examples of hospitality throughout the scriptures, such as the example of Abraham in Genesis 18, and the command in Hebrews 13:12 to show hospitality to strangers in case we entertain angels as Abraham did. I Peter 4:9 tells us as Christians to be hospitable to one another without complaint, and Romans 12:13 also reminds us to be hospitable.

In addition to these examples, we can learn hospitality from the character of God. As Christians, our goal should be to imitate Him, and He is the perfect example of hospitality. He has created a beautiful earth for us and welcomes us into His family to partake in His feast, and He is preparing the ultimate home for us to welcome us into someday.

2. Hospitality is an excellent way to build relationships.

A wise Christian woman once gave me some advice on being a preacher’s wife, and she said whenever her family began working with a new congregation they made sure to have every family over for dinner at some point to get to know them. We implemented this practice in Romania, and we are trying to do it now (we’re still working through the list!) and I can attest to the truth of this advice. There is something about welcoming someone into your home and sharing a meal that bolsters a relationship.

3. Hospitality allows you to serve and grow.

Having people in your home is not easy. You may spend days cleaning the house or hours preparing food. You may only spend a few minutes on each. You may struggle with keeping the conversation interesting, continually checking to see if everyone is participating, or you may chat the evening away with ease. But no matter what, showing hospitality is a sacrifice and an opportunity for growth. It will not only bless those you welcome into your home; it will bless you and your family by giving to others.

Back in Romania, that second time I had people in my home when we left Bible study to eat together in our apartment the couple thanked us again and again, the excitement showing on their face. They stopped on the way to buy me a big bouquet of red flowers and ooed and aahed over our apartment. We figured out what to talk about and how to talk to each other, and they didn’t even laugh when I told them I was 12 instead of 20. When they left, they thanked us profusely and promised to have us into their home soon.

Our time together did strengthen our relationship, and the result was more than worth the stress leading up to it.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but these are the main three reasons our family continues to show hospitality.

Do you have any “whys” to add to the list? Why do you show hospitality?

Our Little Sunshine

Our Little Sunshine

“Mae, say mmmma-ma. Can you say ma-ma?” She just gives me a cheesy grin. “Da-da-da!” “Say ma-ma-ma!” Again the sweet grin with upturned eye, her eyelashes nearly touching her eyebrows. She refuses to make a noise. As soon as I turn around I hear her […]

Friends, Festivity, and Fellowship at the Coke 10k

Friends, Festivity, and Fellowship at the Coke 10k

Loud music reverberates from speakers, attempting to overpower the lesser noises of runner small-talk, the pounding shoes from warm-ups and dynamic stretching, and the overall din of athletes preparing themselves to race. The crowd of people gathered under a banner with “START” blazoned across in […]

May Goals

May Goals

Now that I am done with school, finally done writing pages upon pages of projects and papers, I decided for my May goals to focus on…writing.

Ever since I was very young, I have loved to write. The first “book” I wrote was called Best Friends, and it was all about the adventures of me and two of my friends. It had seven or eight chapters, each a full piece of notebook paper. I made a cover for it and drew illustrations and felt like a real author. After that, I continued to write story after story, usually about happy families and everyday adventures they had. As I got older my characters grew slightly more complex, and the stories had slightly higher stakes, and the chapter length got longer than a page of wide-ruled notebook paper.

Then, when I was fifteen, I stopped abruptly. I had been working diligently on a new story about a girl named Hannah and her life on a farm with her family. I had it all planned out, how I would create exciting twists to the story and develop the characters of her parents and siblings. I let someone close to me read the first chapter or two, and they lovingly gave me constructive criticism. The characters were too perfect. They needed realistic flaws. The story needed bigger stakes and a more interesting plot line.

I should have taken this criticism and used it to shape the story into something better and more believable, but instead, I just stopped writing.

Of course, I did not stop completely, because I love to write. I continued to journal faithfully every day, and I wrote countless letters to family and friends. I would think up story ideas in my head, maybe even writing down the bare ideas, but I wouldn’t put my pen to paper to write anymore.

I also continued to write for school, of course. English was always my favorite subject, and I loved choosing my words and watching an essay take shape on my paper (or on the computer screen as I shifted more to typing instead of longhand writing). I began college pursuing a degree in elementary education, but after a fantastic experience with my teacher in English Composition II, I changed my major to English so I could keep on reading and writing papers about the literature other authors had crafted so beautifully.

As I have taken courses and written my way through my degree in English my love for writing has grown, and my goals have expanded. I love writing for this blog, and I dream of improving and using it to help others through my experiences and ideas. I dream of writing a memoir of my experiences as a missionary in Romania for a year, mostly for myself, but also for others if it could help them. I dream of writing fiction for young adults with characters and messages that will help them become better people. I dream of writing poetry. I dream of writing for the glory of God.

So I chose to focus on writing in May because I no longer have to worry about deadlines and specific topics of papers for school, but I can write whatever I want. Some of my goals for this month include:

  • working on my Romania memoir (I have already written about 10,000 words since I left Romania, but I haven’t been able to focus or be consistent.)
  • experimenting with writing more poetry (again, I have been writing poetry for a while, though nothing worthy of sharing publicly, but I want to be more consistent.)
  • reading books on writing, such as Your Life as a Story by Tristine Rainer, Writing About Your Life by William Zinsser, and The Practice of Poetry by Robin Behn, among others.

What are your goals for May?

Done!

Done!

Done. Several times it felt like this day would never come, but today it did. I finished my last term for my Bachelor’s degree. The term officially ends on Sunday, and the graduation commencement is May 11, but I am done with my coursework, and […]

Simple Activities with Baby

Simple Activities with Baby

My focus for March was simplicity, and as with all of my monthly goals, I am still trying to keep them through the rest of the year. One thing I tried to focus on in March was single-tasking and focusing on what I was doing […]

April Goals

April Goals

“The only way to have a friend is to be one” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A true friend is the greatest of all blessings, and that which we take the least care of all to acquire.” ~ Francois de La Rochefoucauld

My goal theme for April is friendships.

I have made countless friends throughout my life, but I feel like I am always moving away from them. I moved away from Mississippi friends when I went to college, then I moved away from college friends when I went to Romania. Then I came back to Mississippi and some of my friends have moved away to college!

This month I want to focus on cultivating current friendships, reconnecting with old friends, and maybe even making new friends! As with all my other monthly goals, I want to continue these goals throughout the rest of the year.

What are your April goals?

Mama at a Track Meet

Mama at a Track Meet

Athletes milled about, jogging, jumping, stretching. The smell of the rubbery track and grassy field blended in the fresh air with the spicy scent of icy hot. “She looks like she’s fast. I wonder which event she’s running,” I thought to myself, immediately beginning to […]