Vibrant Hospitality: Opening the Window of Relationship

"An invitation is a slight opening in the window of relationship." Leslie Verner

When we moved to Mid-Coast Maine, we set ourselves a goal of inviting someone new  to dinner every month. We gathered around crock pot roasts, mashed potatoes, home-canned green beans, and usually a pie for dessert. The elderly couple we invited for August was a delight:  we talked books, they filled us in on local… Continue reading Vibrant Hospitality: Opening the Window of Relationship

How to Do the Hard and Holy Work of Faithful Friendship

Spiritual friendship involves caring, accepting, serving, encouraging, and practicing hospitality.

"So who's mentoring whom here?" my friend asked with a mischievous grin. Good question! When friends challenge one another with shared books, Scripture reading, and transparent prayer, everyone is sharpened and restored in a way that uniquely shows the love of God. Janice Peterson calls this "spiritual friendship," and has reached back into her long… Continue reading How to Do the Hard and Holy Work of Faithful Friendship

Invited into the Deep Welcome of Friendship

Hospitality requires me to boldly welcome others into the mess that is me.

Across the miles they drove, journeying four hours north on washboard roads until they reached this country hill. “We want to talk about the conference,” they had said on the phone.  “We can fill you in on the details in person.  The more you know about us, the easier it will be for you to… Continue reading Invited into the Deep Welcome of Friendship

Commit Deliberate Acts of Hospitality

Hospitality is a deliberate decision to know the people around you from more than a polite distance.

We were new in church and new to the area, and our little three-bedroom fixer-upper was situated in a part of the universe in which it didn't matter that we had been born and bred in Maine. We had not been born and bred in this part of Maine, and we had the accent (or lack of same) to… Continue reading Commit Deliberate Acts of Hospitality

Around the Table. Around the World

For all its challenges, moving into a fixer-upper six days before the birth of my oldest son was what set my face like a flint in this direction: We will not wait for perfection.  We will welcome the world into our home.  Hanging off the northeast corner of the U.S. mainland, we’re not on the… Continue reading Around the Table. Around the World

The Deep Welcome of Friendship

Across the miles they drove, journeying four hours north on washboard roads until they reached this country hill. “We want to talk about the conference,” they had said on the phone.  “We can fill you in on the details in person.  The more you know about us, the easier it will be for you to… Continue reading The Deep Welcome of Friendship

The Freedom is in the Falling

Because I'm a planner, I carry a planner, but the truth is that my planner carries me.  All pristine and un-besmirched, the 2017 edition holds out the promise of glorious accomplishment and blessed organization in a life that often feels like spinning plates and chaos management.  Shannan Martin started her marriage and motherhood in much… Continue reading The Freedom is in the Falling

The Glorious Right Angle

The patient husband and I have challenged ourselves to be more purposeful in our practice of hospitality this year -- to "meet the stranger at the gate" in our own little rural setting by inviting someone new and different into our home each month.  January was wonderful!  We enjoyed an evening with a couple we've… Continue reading The Glorious Right Angle

The Spiritual Discipline of Making Room

Last night there were twenty people in my average-sized house.  It was a festive occasion -- my daughter-in-love's birthday -- so we gathered the in-laws and the out-laws for giant subs, iced tea, and birthday cake.  As usual, once the crowd arrived, I was elated that we had made the effort to host the gathering, but… Continue reading The Spiritual Discipline of Making Room