|Cottage in Southampton, MA|
Have you ever had that experience of being a guest, and all your needs are met? Bath towels, instructions for how to use a quirky appliance ahead of time, good conversation, enough alone time, even volunteering to play with your kids...
I've had all that and more in the past month. Since September 24, we've been out of our house. Yet, we don't fly to Spain until tomorrow. (I know! That excitement will be laid out in another post.) We have stayed at six different houses since then. That's six times schlepping our stuff around, living out of suitcases, being with different people, and cooking in different kitchens.
What stands out to me in this moment as I sit on a porch in Ocean City, NJ, is the amazing hospitality I've experienced in each place. My kids have been so resilient through all of these transitions, and I attribute it to the hospitality of those we've stayed with. I've had the freedom to laugh, cry, go off and do yoga, cook for others, eat other's cooking, and just be. I am so, so thankful for all of the hospitality.
Dictionary.com defines hospitality as "the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, and generous way." Synonyms include warmth, cordiality, geniality, friendliness.
Come, let me take you through our journey.
We left our house on August 25th, with renters moving in that afternoon. We stayed in the home of our dear friends and neighbors, the Bettles, for five nights. During that time, Jonathan made Justin a carrot cake for his birthday, Courtney sat and chatted with me over a meal, our kids played beautifully, and there were a lot of conversations standing in the kitchen or lingering around the table. We felt like family.
From there, Justin headed to Guatemala for two weeks of Spanish school, and the girls and I packed up to head to Baltimore. Before we drove away, other friends and neighbors, Elizabeth and Carlos, waved us over for some porch time and brownies to go. We drove to my parents in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
|Kayaking with Grandpa|
|Riding the Duquesne|
|Cottage in Southampton, MA|
|Ocean City, New Jersey|
|Thrilled to be playing in the waves.|
It makes me think a little bit of what God expects of me. I believe the Bible when it says he loves me lavishly. I have experienced that love. Yet God expects me to work at following him, and to work at showing God's love to others. It's not a passive Christian life, it's an active Christian life with responsibility attached to it.
Hospitality, when done well, shows lavish love to others (friends and strangers), yet it doesn't treat them like royalty. Guests are invited to join in life's work and play.
As we prepare to go to Spain, I hope to bring with me the spirit of hospitality. I hope to treat strangers as friends I don't know yet. When we have a place to live, I hope to invite new friends in readily, regardless of our language ability. And I hope to join with them as they celebrate holidays, joys, sadness, and successes.
To help you on your way to cooking hospitably, here are some of my favorite recipes from the web that I've used this year. You're welcome!
Homemade Soaked Tortillas with Black Beans
Paleo Banana Bread
Whole30 Mayo in tuna salad, egg salad, on salmon cakes, on BLTs.
Overnight Yogurt Dough Crackers
Marrow with Parsley Salad
Apple Pie (this was a nice recipe, but it made extra apple filling, so I made a hasty apple crisp to bake alongside the pie. Then I froze it).