Tag Archives: rest

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!

Dear Vanessa ~ Knee Deep In the Trenches Of Life



Dear Vanessa,

I was just recently married, and both my husband and I are working and going to school.   We budget every penny.  I feel so exhausted and cannot see the light in this.  I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel but it is overwhelming at times.  Sometimes I can’t even scrape up enough money for the extras – like having a coffee.   Do you have any helpful hints on how to get through this time?

In deep,


Dearest Chelsea,

Sometimes it feels like we are working so hard and cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.   Life can feel overwhelming and difficult.    But God promises us that we will have abundance in this life.  However, He never said  it wouldn’t take work.

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 (NIV)

He gave us so much to enjoy, but we have to use our hands to enjoy the rewards.

I remember a time when my husband and I began our life journey, and we lived in a basement suite.  At the time I was a hairdresser and he worked in a grocery store.   Looking back, I do think we got too serious about life too quickly and did not enjoy it to the fullest.  Although we didn’t have a lot of discretionary money, we seemed to muddle through things.

If I could go back in time, I would tell myself “Enjoy the now”.

Enjoying the now means

  • Being present
  • Loving each other and not putting too much pressure in achieving what “society sets as a standard”
  • Giving of ourselves – helping others that are in need (this can be in small or big ways)
  • Having more doesn’t make life more full
  • Loving our family and friends and spending our time with them as much as possible

It is easy to get caught up in everything around us.   Everywhere you look people are looking to physically attain wealth or the material “things” in this world.  But ultimately when it comes down to it, wealth comes from love.

Love of ones self,

Love of family,

Love of friends,

And Love for others (our neighbours).

Seems simple right?   But it can be so difficult, we have to pull ourselves back.   We have to learn how to refocus, reprioritize and not worry too much about getting to the finish line on time.

Paul told Timothy, “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.” (1 Timothy 6:17)

Rest your mind my friend, and trust in the Lord in all things.    Present your worries to Him and He will answer.  Sometimes it is not in our time, but in his time.  So remember, be patient.

Lastly, I came across this wonderful poem the other day that really sums up how we should focus in this life:

Recipe of Life

“Begin with a case of Joy,

Add a heaping spoonful of gratitude,

Fold in a large dollop of kindness,

Stir in a handful of Forgiveness,

Sprinkle liberally with Love and cover with Peace,

Always serve with a large scale of Faith.” (author Unknown)

What a wonderful way to navigate through life.  May you be blessed beautiful lady.

Dear Lord God,

You know our worries, fears and anxieties.  I lift up the worries of Chelsea and any other individuals that are finding it difficult to make a go of it.  Help them, pour your wisdom, faith and discernment into their lives.   Guide them in their day-to-day activities.  Teach them to realize that through You, we can rest.  I pray for this in Jesus’ Name Amen.

Blessings to you beautiful lady,


If you have a question for Vanessa please email her at [email protected]

You can also read Vanessa’s personal blog and journey at www.nesschesters.wordpress.com

Dear Vanessa - Overwhelmed in need of Rest


Dear Vanessa,

Over the past couple of months I have been overwhelmed with my life, but have not told anyone.   Many people look to me for strength.  I have an aging parent that needs my help, a young son that is going through his teen years and that all on its own has its challenges, friends that are experiencing health issues, and then trying to balance our house/family needs.    I also have a big heart and feel like I need to help everyone that is going through the trials in their lives.  Meanwhile I feel depleted and have no energy for my husband.    How did life get so crazy?  Advice needed…..

Yours in chaos,


Dearest Nancy,

I can sympathize with your feelings completely!  You have taken a wonderful first step in looking for some advice!  

Life can be crazy at times and can feel overwhelming especially when you are coping with some major challenges.    But you must know that these burdens are not for you to bear.    God wants us to come to Him with our worries so we can rest, so we can have a life that is rich and full.

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30 NIV)

The definitions of rest are

Verb :

  • Cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.
  • Remain or be left in a specified condition: “rest assured”.


  • An instance or period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in strenuous or stressful activity.
  • The remaining part of something.

As a first step my friend, I would ask that you lift up your many worries to God, and then give yourself some grace and rest. 

Could you imagine actually resting this week?   Or have you been thinking about your “to do” or “to see” lists?  Have you been consumed with thoughts of “how am I going to get this all done”?

I understand the feelings, and then wondering “when will this all end”.

Slow down my friend, and life will feel easy and light again.

Worries can paralyze us.   You have to know that this is the way that the devil tries to penetrate our souls…. Where ever he finds a weakness or crack he will target until you feel completely and utterly depleted.  God tells us not to worry.

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life”.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?” (Matthew 6:25-27 NIV)

The worry affects our energy, our health and how we react to others.   This statement in the bible paints such a clear picture of the impact of worry.   It can consume and ultimately decrease the time that we have here on this earth.    Yes life can be hard sometimes; it can push us in a variety of directions.   However, it is how we react in these situations that make all the difference.

We can control how we respond. 

We all have choice.  The rest is up to our Great God!

So I ask you my friend, are you ready to share your worries with Him? 

Are you ready to take a break and rest your soul?  

Can you control the health of others; does this add a single minute to your life?

What small steps can you take right now to break the tasks in your life into manageable pieces? 

Take account for the things that bring your joy and happiness now.

Chose to be light, chose rest, chose joy, chose to cherish every single moment with the ones you love and care about. These are the focal points of our lives. 

Live, love, laugh and feel full.

And then give the rest to Him, He will surly make straight your paths.

Dear Lord God,

I pray for rest for the weary and for Nancy.  I pray for you to help Nancy and all those going through chaos in their lives to find You.  I pray that you will help all those that feel overwhelmed to feel light and you help direct their paths.   I pray for peace, joy, and love to fill all of their souls.  I pray for this because you want all of us to live our lives full.   I pray for this in Jesus’ Name Amen.

Blessings to you beautiful lady,


If you have a question for Vanessa please email her at [email protected]

You can also read Vanessa’s personal blog and journey at www.nesschesters.wordpress.com

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!