Archive for October, 2014

Helpful Hints for Showing Hospitality with Older Kids

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014



It’s hard to believe that most of my kids fit into the “older” category now. And by older, I mean, able to unload the dishwasher without breaking dishes (most of the time), setting the table (without breaking dishes), and clearing the table (well, you know…).

It seem like just  yesterday that I was home alone most Saturdays with my 3 little ones, while Duane was off studying for seminary. Those days were intense, yet I have  many fond memories of chubby, little hands pouring, scooping, and stirring with me.

I don’t think I would have survived our seminary season without the people that stopped by, ate with us, and made us laugh. Plus, when kids are young, they go to bed E A R L Y, so we had ample time to linger with company once the kids were asleep for the night.

Now…not so much. They protest going to bed at 9pm and really don’t want to miss out on the fun. I can’t blame them. They’re becoming their own people now, able to ask adults questions and enter into conversation.

Sometimes I want to shove them off, so I can have a coherent conversation, but in more mature moments, I realize the need to lay down my  desires for the sake of their  participation in our community.

Honestly, I’m grateful that my children are growing up alongside other wise adults and their children. Jesus, have mercy if I’m the only one speaking into their lives.

With that said, let’s get on to some helpful hints for showing hospitality with O L D E R kids.

#1 Spell it out. I’m pretty sure I said this in my first post, but kids do a lot better if you tell them what’s happening for the day before the day starts. Let them know that you’ll need their help at a specific time and for how long.

#2 Assign chores.  Get a feel for what they actually like doing (even though sometimes they just need to do what needs to be done, ya know?).  Aidan often helps Duane out with yard work, while Abby and Stephen prefer to help me in the kitchen.

#3 Set the table properly. There are tons of Google images on  proper place settings. I printed one and kept it on the table every night as a guide until they knew how to set the table appropriately.

#4 Let them participate. If your child likes to cook, let her/ him make one of the side dishes or dessert. If your child is artistic, let her/ him create a menu or design place cards.

#5 Hospitality Manners Check List.  I found this printable and immediately hung it on our refrigerator. I tweaked the title a little, however, from Hospitality is a Virtue to Hospitality is Our Response to Jesus’ Love for Us. (Ok, I get that I’m slightly nerdy.)   Regardless, it’s a great list to teach kids how to treat guests with reminders like:

Always offer to take a guest’s coat or belongings


Always walk a guest to the door when leaving.


Bonus Tip: I just found out today that is beginning a hospitality study for the next two weeks.

I love their response to the following question:

“If all those party planning and design ideas on my Pinterest boards don’t look like true hospitality, then what does?”

In Jesus we see that hospitality begins in the heart.

Yes. Yes. And yes.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

For my next posts in the series, I can’t wait to share  hospitality stories written by friends who’ve  made hospitality a lifestyle, even in the chaos of kids. Stay tuned!









Photo Feature Wednesday on Tuesday: Liz + Iris

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

photo feature

I’ve been wanting to post these pictures for a long time, but have been bogged down with life’s to-do list. So, I’m making the most of the free time I have today to post them, since I don’t know what tomorrow holds.

This was my first spin at newborn photography, and I was sweating at the end. I call it photographer acrobatics–the twisting, turning, and crouching involved to get good shots, especially of a baby.

I’m always a little nervous about shooting indoors, since I’m not a professional and don’t carry lighting equipment with me. But there was a window in baby Iris’ room that let in the most beautiful natural light. I think the photos of Liz + Iris next to the window are my favorite shots. When I first saw them, I gasped.

newborn photography






Iris and her dad had some pretty sweet moments as well. Trent was a natural at holding her.




No newborn shoot is  complete without one photo of the baby crying, though I have to say, Iris was a champ. She was awake for two full hours and only cried once briefly. Maybe she wanted Luke’s jellybean?




Even when she cries, she’s cute.


To see the full gallery, click on the gallery below.  Or go to my Life in Pictures tab to see this gallery as well as other photos I’ve taken.