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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Hospitality and the Holidays + Pumpkin Bread Recipe

I’m a born and raised Southern girl, where hospitality and entertaining runs deep. It’s something that is innate within us and something we take very important. More than anything, I long to have a home that is warm and welcoming, a place where friends and family can come whenever they need to get away. Being hospitable plays a huge role into this—we have to cultivate it in order for it to produce fruit in our daily life.



Being hospitable is so much more than just opening your door for others to come into your home, it’s creating an environment of acceptance and love. It’s a way of life, not an act of service, per se. It's one of those lessons that you learn by watching and doing, not by talking about it. It goes beyond our homes and into our lives—it’s shown by little acts of kindness that most people wouldn’t notice otherwise. It’s prayer for friends when they need it and when they don’t. It’s taking a meal to someone who needs it. It’s giving of your time when others need it more. It’s letting the people in our homes and in our communities know that they’re important to us and that they are loved.



The holidays are nearing and my mind is focused on parties and get-togethers and guests in our home. I get overwhelmed quickly with thinking of the things that need to be done, like cooking, cleaning, planning, preparing. My heart is happiest when our home is full of family, laughter, and noise, but I haven't figured out how to balance myself into the perfect hostess. My mind immediate goes to my grandmother on this topic--the epitome of a sweet, Southern hostess. I've learned a lot from her through the years, and this year, I'm eager to put some of that into action. 

I can remember as a young child always having extra people at our family Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. My grandmother never hesitated to welcome those who needed somewhere to go--couples from church, older, widowed ladies from her Sunday school class, even people she had only met once or twice. She’d welcome anyone who needed a place to celebrate the holidays, anyone without a family to be with during Christmas, or even just someone who needed a warm meal or a bed. Even as a young child, the importance of that always resonated with me. It’s such a crucial part of the Christian faith, too—to break down the walls that separate us. To love our neighbors as ourselves. To give unto the least of these. I know the Lord gives us all talents to further His Kingdom, including hospitality.

Entertaining is messy sometimes; as much as I want my home to be perfect and put together and spotless at any given moment, it's not always that way. A messy kitchen is the norm around here--I always have some recipe I'm working on and there tends to be spots of flour or sugar here and there. I'm learning to let go of perfection--sometimes we need to embrace the messy and what comes with it. I'm happiest when my hands are busy and my home is full of people; who cares if there are some dishes in the sink or a little dust on the mantle?





As I grow up and as I create a home of my own, those little things I've learned through the years have stuck with me. Day by day, I strive to make our home open to the ones we love. Sharing our lives and breaking bread with friends and family is what life is all about, when it comes down to it. My hospitality doesn’t come as easy as I wish it would, though. It’s easy for those I’m close with, but not so easy for strangers or even acquaintances. I long to have the courage to open the doors of our home for anyone who wants or needs to be loved on. I’m learning as I go to go against what our culture teaches us—I’m learning to just be open and ready and willing to serve. And over time, I know that the Lord will fill in those blanks and help me to have a more hospitable, welcoming heart.




This recipe is a go-to for me in the holiday season, easy to make and even better to package up for loved ones to share the deliciousness. I use this recipe from Food Network, so I won't bore you with my rendition of it. It's even better if you make a little streusel topping for it, but I, of course, ran out of cinnamon, so a simple icing was the solution. Make this, friends, and get your hearts and homes ready for the wonderful, festive holiday season! Xoxo

I'm linking up and sharing my heart on hospitality with the sweet Rachel for the Bread & Wine Project.

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