Tag Archives: hospitality

Simple (thanksgiving) Hospitality

Simple (thanksgiving) Hospitality

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10

I truly believe that there are those who are called to serve - food that is!  Mom’s all over the world diligently pull out their pots and pans every day, to thanksgivingprepare a simple meal for their families, hospitality that shows love and caring.  This is our ministry.  But I think during this particular time of year, this calling to hospitality can become anything but simple. The Martha in us takes over and although we love to serve, we have a tendency to take it to a level that is just simply unhealthy! Just ask anyone who was at the first Thanksgiving feast that I prepared. I think I got a total of 5 hours sleep that whole week because I was so wrapped up in making it the best and most memorable holiday ever. And it was…..for them.  For me? I only remember how blissful it was to lay down in bed that night and sleep, sleep, sleep.  I’m not even sure that I talked to anyone that day and if I did, I certainly don’t remember it!

While it may be our calling to serve and do the good works that God prepared for us to do (like serving our families), I think that we also need to remember Mary, Martha’s sister, who sat at the feet of Jesus.  Mary knew when to simply enjoy what was in front of her. We can learn a valuable lesson from her this holiday season….and from Mischele!  Our Girl Friday has a few tips on how to make our holiday hospitality stress-free!

Enjoy this special post!

mischHow to Plan a Stress Free Thanksgiving

Every year we girls take on quite a bit to make our families feel appreciated and loved. We go through a lot of sacrificing and crazy schedule planning in order to pull off a day that should be spent enjoying our family and guests. Instead we are the Martha’s of the Bible and we spend too much time working on details that can be left out in order to spend the time visiting.

If you plan ahead, you will enjoy the holidays instead of resenting them!

Here are a few tips to help you plan a stress free Thanksgiving:

 I love the idea that over the holidays we have the opportunity to show our friends and families how much we love them. With that thought in mind, I like to think about the food they love to eat and the activities they enjoy doing together.

 The Week Before:

1. I spend a little time analyzing what traditions my guests like, along with the foods they enjoy and I prepare my menu. I find I may make a few changes over the next couple of days because I remember this or that or discover a new wonderful recipe from Maria {LOL} that I want to share.

Here is a little bullet list to help you to plan your meal

  • Breakfast traditions-(like a sausage and egg casserole during the Parade)
  • Hors d’oeuvres
  • Main course-Ham or Turkey
  • Side dishes-Vegetables, Breads, stuffing
  • Deserts-Cheese cake, pie, cookies,
  • Beverages
  • Snacks for the Game- popcorn, chili (can be pre-made and frozen) chips and salsa….Choose whatever your family likes!

 2. I clean out my fridge, double check my pantry for items I will need and make a grocery list of things I will need in the next few days.

 I wash and iron my table linens and decide on what dishes I will need to accommodate my guests. Some people just use throw away dishes but if I have enough real plates I like to use them instead….it’s a Lebanese tradition to serve in this fashion no matter how large the group is.

 3.I love to pre-prepare any foods that can be made ahead of time, such as baking a couple loaves of zucchini bread or perhaps a chocolate pie that could be frozen and then thawed a day before serving.

 Throughout the week:

I take an hour to an hour and a half to clean a room each day prior to the holiday. Only concentrate on the areas that your guests will be spending time in. This simplifies the cleaning process by breaking it up. Often we leave it to the last minute and when you add it to all of the rest of the last minute preparations, it can be overwhelming.

 As I am cleaning I love to slowly pull out any fall decorations spreading them around our gathering areas. Putting aside what I will use for my table decorations. This gives the feeling of thankfulness and appreciation for your home and amenities you have right at your fingertips.

 3 days before

I shop for any remaining Items that I don’t have on hand and will need to complete my Meal and snacks.

 2 Days Before

I take out any pre-made items, turkey or ham out of the freezer and put them in the Fridge to thaw.

The Day Before

Assemble your side dishes such as your stuffing, and casseroles then cover them and refrigerate so they are ready to bake tomorrow along with your Turkey or ham.


I set up all my tables and decorate them with linens and holiday décor to suit. I prepare my napkins ahead of time unless they are store bought. I double check that I have all my side dishes ready for the items I will bake or cook the following day. I know this seems odd but it helps when putting everything on the table. You won’t have to go looking for something to suit.

 Thanksgiving Day!

Yep you got it going on….you simply have to start the turkey or ham and your hors d’oeuvres (ie; ham rollups) are already in refrigerator ready for serving.  Pull out your prepped casserole and stuffing and/or sweet potatoes and add to the oven while your turkey is cooking according to the time needed. Set your dishes on your already decorated table and presto! All you need to do is pull it out of the fridge or the oven, place in the dishes you already have chosen to serve in, and throw it on the table.

Important: Don’t forget to say your Blessings prior to your meal and thank your Heavenly father for all things.

Rest, Relax, and enjoy your family knowing you have already pre-prepared everything beforehand so that you can enjoy the time when they are with you.

 God Bless this Holiday Season and may your heart see a different meaning to the Holiday!

A Sabbath Day of Rest



“Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”       Hebrews 10:25


In our last two chapters of our bible study book “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World”; the subject of balance is the main focus. Balancing kitchen service and time in the living room can be difficult in this fast paced world of ours.  Many women work outside of the home, and with the kids and house to take care of on top of it all, it can be downright impossible!

But to take a Sabbath’s rest is a requirement from God; a commandment. Why? I think that God knows that if he doesn’t command it from us, we won’t take the time to do it on our own.  We have a tendency to let the business of life get in the way, and sometimes, the only day left during the week to accomplish many of our household chores is Sunday. We come home from church, if we even “feel up” to going, and we do laundry, clean the bathrooms, organize our closets or get our homework done.

This is not rest.

God desires for us to take time out from our busy lives, in fact he requires it. What does this look like for us today, when our weeks are so full, and there is more on our “to do” list than there is time to do it?

In biblical times, the Jews put all kinds of restrictions on their activities. They were not allowed to travel more than a certain distance, including to church. They could not carry more than a certain amount of weight on their person or it would be considered a burden, and they were not allowed to make any food and heaven forbid one of their animals gets stuck in the mud – To bad so sad!

The book outlines 3 main ideas of what a Sabbath Day of Rest must look like. They are:

1. It needs to be different – Set apart. It should not be for things that you just didn’t have time to accomplish the rest of the week. The point is to detach. Even though doing a few dishes or a load of laundry might not be a big deal or a great burden to you, it is still work and you mind in still in that “work” mode.

Have you even had a day where you just sat in a chair all day and read a book…maybe even finished it just because it was just so good, but when you looked back on that day you felt like you accomplished absolutely nothing – maybe even felt guilty about it? But you were so incredibly rested from that day off of responsibility that you just didn’t care? Well – that is precisely the point!  It is the act of detachment that is needed in order to find rest.

2. The Sabbath should be a day of devotion. Our focus is to be on God and things of God. This can look different for many people. Some find themselves completely at peace and connected to creation when they putter in the garden, and others consider it just plain work! To one, this would be an okay Sabbath activity, but to the other a no-no!

If your desire is to read a book or watch television, reading 50 Shades of Gray or watching a horror movie probably isn’t the best choice. Your choices should be something that brings you closer to God. Try instead a devotional or Christian fiction. There are many, many choices and you will feel much better for having made that choice.

Movies or television is another issue. It seems that our choices become more and more limited all of the time as producers compete to create programming with more and more shock value.  It is our choice that perpetuates this. There are options though – just consider them before you choose. Remember the focus is to improve our spiritual lives. Again, you will feel much better after making the better choice.

3. The Sabbath should be at least partially a family day. My family has, in the past, made it a point to sit down at our dinner table and eat together on Sunday. In fact it was a requirement. No tv., no distractions. As our children are getting older, it has become increasingly more difficult to achieve this. The oldest has a job, and a car, and friends….so he seems to be constantly on the run. The younger one is at that age where it seems like all he wants to do is sleep and play video games…it’s a challenge! So we have to get more creative in how we can lure our kids to want to spend time with us. These are a few things that we do…

Plan a short trip with them, this can be simple….go to the movies, or even walk around the mall and get some gelato. Do whatever works for your family, but get them out of the house and into an atmosphere where they are a captive audience and have no choice but to talk to you! They may complain at first, but in the end, I think you will find that you managed to connect with them. Just don’t make it about you – I guarantee if you try to make them go to the Christmas extravaganza that you have always wanted to see…they aren’t going to be happy!  …unless that is their thing of course!

Have the extended family over…this will keep them at home and engaged with company and it is also a great opportunity to practice hospitality. You don’t need to go overboard, keep it simple….it is the time that you spend with them that is key, not what you are serving or how clean your house is.

These are just a few practical things that you can do to make your Sabbath more restful. Remember, that is the point!


Be at peace and rest in the Lord!