Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Life That Says Welcome

"Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." 1 Peter 4:9

I just finished reading A Life That Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open Your Heart & Home to Others, by Karen Ehman. You may have heard of Karen Ehman as a speaker for Hearts at Home ministries.

Any woman looking to hone her hospitality and home management skills will find this book extremely helpful and practical. Ehman addresses clutter control, speed cleaning, home decorating, meal planning and grocery shopping, "hospitality on the road," holidays, Sunday dinner, and many other relevant topics. All the topics are held together with biblical principles and the idea that biblical hospitality is making people feel welcome and wanted.

I particularly like her family focus. She makes clear throughout her book that the first recipients of a woman's hospitality should be her own husband and children, or her immediate family and roommates if she is single. This is clearly biblical, as we can see from the "widow's passage" in 1 Timothy 5.

On making our own families the first recipients of our hospitality, Ehman suggests we consider the acts of kindness we would do for friends coming to visit. We might use special dishes, display flowers, clean the house, light a candle, prepare a fancy dish or decadent dessert. Why shouldn't we do these things for our "closest neighbors," our own families? Get out the fine china for family night--why not? Light a candle--sure! Pray for good conversation--certainly! Clean the house even when no one is coming over--definitely! Be ready with a warm greeting when family members come home--absolutely!

The book is sprinkled with yummy sounding recipes, as well as many ideas for making a richer home life. My copy is marked-up and will be a ready resource on my shelf to spark ideas for years to come.


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