You're the Key to Hospitality!

As I handed this pint of homemade strawberry/raspberry jam to my friend Carla, my other hand went around her shoulders to give her a big hug. A long, past-due kind of hug!

The aroma in her farmhouse kitchen of freshly-baked cookies just coming out of the oven was making my mouth water! And Carla and I quickly connected with each other after a few years of not seeing each other.

The jar of jam was a very small gesture on my part, a gesture of thanks to Carla for inviting me into her home to share with her group of young mothers. Ladies – who like Carla and me at one time – are overwhelmed, in the thick of life and marriage and babies.

While Carla meets regularly with these sweet ladies, my role was to come and help encourage them to continue to love their husbands and take care of their households. And where does hospitality fit into that?

Hospitality always starts with me. My husband jumps on board when he can, and my kids are in the midst of learning what it’s all about, but I’m the KEY to making it work in my home. My home is like a ministry station – a place where hospitality comes and goes, especially during these years while my kids are in school.

Does it mean that my family entertains all of the time, no matter what? No, because we all experience seasons. Seasons when my babies are born or when death takes you by surprise (my husband and I lost 3 parents in a 5-year period). Right now during the soccer season where all 3 of our kids play soccer (one on a traveling team, the other 2 at the high school level), and my husband coaches Varsity high school soccer, we do very little entertaining. But there are other small things to do to show a hospitable spirit!

As we sat outside under the grape arbor, and drank tea and ate cookies – Carla and I began to share. Most of my readers already know that I’m passionate about “making hospitality your own.” And this is what I encouraged these ladies to do. To start simple and to begin to learn what “loving others” is all about. To not fall into the “comparison trap,” as it’s so easy to do for all of us. And to not get caught up with too many details, so that it becomes distracting to your family.

These were simple things that I shared. And I bet there was not one new thing that they hadn’t heard before. Sometimes we just have to be reminded, or hear it from someone new. But as I encouraged mentors and friendships and sharing the civic and common life together – there was one very important aspect that I wanted to share. And that was that in order to make hospitality happen in a healthy way, it’s essential to love your spouse. It’s like a garment that we constantly wear, and as Colossians 3 says, we are to never be without it. Love.

Carla and I both shared experiences in our early marriages where we may have loved entertaining more than our husbands cared to be joining in with us. In other words, we were too “pushy” with what we wanted, causing strains on our marriages with what we were trying to accomplish!

There’s so much to learn, and then to remember, as a young mother. But I loved Carla’s “round-table” discussion idea that she has established with these gals. She’s become a mentor and guess what the easiest part is? That it’s happening right in her home!

Back to my jam – my family has decided that my latest concoction of strawberry/raspberry is their very favorite. I started using the “less sugar needed” Sure Jell, fruit pectin. For every 8 cups of crushed strawberries (top photo shows we’re still getting strawberries from our garden, can you believe it?) I add 4 cups of crushed raspberries (my friend Pam says if you freeze your raspberries first, you get a more intense flavor!) And then add 2 boxes of pectin and sugar, and follow directions on the pectin box!

It’s a delicious blend.

If you want to stop by my home, I’d be happy to share a jar with you …

(There is always a need for mentors with young mothers. I love how Donnetta is doing it, here. And Julia meets with young gals on Wednesday Nights, here. Read the inspiring post I Found my Niche, here. And with school starting up, read 5 Invisible Moms post, here and reach out to your kid's teachers!)

Thank you Ellen Crimi-Trent, who sent me this lovely "owl" drawing! I love how it fits into my outdoor “orange” themed bathroom, right alongside my kid’s artwork. (Read, I Love Orange post, here.) Ellen is one talented artist!


Kimba said...


Thank you for this lovely post and so many others. I've read your blog for a while but I don't think I've ever commented. This post really touched my heart.

I've been thinking lately about how I am the hospitality center of our home. My husband is certainly hospitable, but left to own devices would probably keep to himself much more. In our case, I truly believe it's a male/female difference. My instinct is to relate and reach out. His is to provide and protect.

I'm a young mom. Well, my kids are young. Me? Not quite as much. But there are so many wonderful lessons that I'm learning from you. I've often wished for a mentor that's already walked the path I'm on. Until one comes along, I'll keep reading your thoughtful and inspiring words.

Thank you.

linda t said...

I just got off the phone with my friend in Kodiak, Alaska... wanting desperately for Randy & I to put on a marriage retreat for the churches in that community. She was sharing that so many marriages are suffering... needing to be reminded that loving our husbands comes first.
How cool to get off the phone and read your latest post Sandy... how wonderful for you to inspire these young wives and mothers to make their homes safe and welcoming for their family and guests.

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Sandy, I love the accountability in this post: "Hospitality always starts with me . . . I’m the KEY to making it work in my home." What good advice you've given us. Thank you.

Wendy said...

this is such a great/very true post! thank you for encouraging me in this! you are such a blessing!

Mod Girl said...

Thank you! Words of wisdom to take to heart. As always your thoughts are laced with kindness, humility, and grace.

Betsy said...

I love your comments on hospitality and encouraging one another. It is so true that it doesn't have to be anything elaborate. I've found that a simple, little gift or an email saying that I prayed for that person today...can mean the world to someone. Spreading a little love....it does everyone good!....and you get a wonderful blessing yourself by giving a little. I love that!

Homesteader in Training said...

Oregon huh? I guess it would be worth every mile for that fresh homemade jam. Maybe on our trip around America one day we'll stop in lol. I love this post and wish there was something like that where I live. For women to get together and share their experiences and encourage each other.
Blessings to you for sharing your heart and knowledge with us.

Mandy said...

I just found your blog and I am loving it! It has such great tips! I will be back often. :-)

tjhirst said...

I was on the receiving end of such love with a loaf of warm zucchini bread from a friend and a hug. That compassion means so much. Thanks for encouraging it. We all need more of it in our lives.

Kirstin said...

Sandy, The jam sounds yummy! I'm sure you were a blessing to those mamas. When my girls were little we had a MOPS group at our church. It was so encouraging. As my girls got a little older I had the opportunity to speak at our group and it was so fun to encourage moms to just be who they are.

What a blessing!

Jen said...

I enjoy reading you so much.I hope you realize that you too help us...alot. I would love to come by and bring you some of my strawberry jam and a good cup of coffee....and chat it up all day.

Myrna said...

I DID stop by, but noone was home!! Hope to see you soon.

kari and kijsa said...

Trying to get back into the blogging swing of things and give a grateful shoutout for all the paryers and support!

Thankful blessings,
kari & kijsa

sarah @ a beach cottage said...

hey, great post sandy!

I'm with Kimba, I feel like I've found a cyber mentor here, you know I was really struggling but I am slowly overcoming that thanks to reading your blog, I think in my case, maybe for many reluctant entertainers it is a bit by bit thing. I'm slowly stepping out of my comfort zone.

I've invited the neighbours for next weekend, and am a bit anxious and sometimes thought this week, ahhh why did i do that, but so glad I made the step, it's so important for me to take the lead with hospitality, you are right

oh yeah and I'd be over like a shot for that jam if I could lol!


:..Rebekah..: said...

Oh, how I'd love to stop by for a jar and visit with you!

Kim said...

We have been picking berries all summer and I have been making a lot of jam. My plan is to use the jam as Christmas gifts - especially for teachers, Sunday school teachers and hostess gifts. Our favorite is a combination of blueberry and red raspberry.

Stephanie said...

I, too, love strawberry/raspberry jam. My step-mom used to make it every year and I was always the lucky recipient of at least 4 containers of it!

Jennifer said...

If you want to stop by my home, I’d be happy to share a jar with you …

I am packing my bags!

nel said...

Thank you for such an inspiring and encouraging post. We all need accountability for our gifts and the way we use them to bless others, at least I do!

You have given me a much needed reminder that my thoughts for others don't mean anything without putting those thoughts into action.

Bless you... Nel x

Renee said...

Wish I lived close to you to sample some of that jam!The last time I had homemade jam was when I was little.

I have learned so many things especially wonderful recipes that really are kid friendly to four of our children plus some for leftovers for a rainy day.

Take care~