Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hospitality...easy as 1,2,3

I love having people over. LOVE it. But have come to realize that not everyone else shares this joy as much as I do.  I think it's clear in God's Word that He wants us to be hospitable.  Not just friendly, or nice when you see someone, but to bring them in and shower them with love from the inside of your home.  Make them feel cared for, thought of, encouraged.  Show them Jesus.

Matthew 25: 35, 40
35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, 
I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, 
as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’

Having company is no easy feat. You have to be prepared. You have to be willing to do something you may not want to do. You may have to do something you do not have the energy to do. But, dare I say it, you should do them anyway.  I don't think that it matters if it is family or old friends or new acquaintances.
 Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

Some situations can vary considering how well you know the people and whether it is a stay of 1 hour 4 hours or overnight. But here are three easy things of which to take note!

1. Be prepared.
Know what kinds of foods these people can and can't eat so you are not making them feel uncomfortable when it's time to eat.  Have plenty of food on hand. Either meal wise or snack wise. If they are staying the night make sure you are prepared for all meal options.
Know what types of things they like to do so you can do those things with them. Games, conversation, movies, outdoor activities, shopping, you name it. Have something or even more than one thing planned as an event to do or a backup plan just incase.

2. Be conversational.
Be willing to share stories about things in your life, events you have been to, hobbies, etc.
If it's family conversation may come easy. Not always the case, but sometimes.  You just might have to put in more effort than normal.
Know when enough of one topic is enough. Someone might be sympathetic to your story about being sick, but 5 minutes later they begin to wonder, and 7 minutes later they wish they never acted interested in the first place because they don't really want to continue listening to this same story.  You don't need to be overly aware, but there are some clear signals if someone would like to change the subject.  See them, and guide the conversation accordingly.
If it's newer people you are meeting, when they ask you a question, answer in full sentences, not one word answers. And next, ask them the same question if you don't already know to keep the converstaion flowing.  Dead air can become awkward when meeting new people.

3. Pamper them/Make it about them
Who doesn't want to be pampered?  Make food you don't normally make. Don't just skimp by with whatever is lying around the house. Show them you put much effort into their stay with what you provide for them. This doesn't have to be an expensive meal. I'm just talking about showing you care enough to completely prepare before they came, instead of throwing things together last minute as if it wasn't important.
Make sure they are having a good time. If they want to just sit and talk, even if that's not your cup of tea, do it.  If they like to play games, even if that's not your cup of tea, do it. If they like to stay up late, and you've worked hard all day and cooked and cleaned the house and you are dog tired... for heavens sake, stay up late with them. Pull your self together. It is possible to force and encourage yourself to take one for the team. In this case the team is your company. On the other hand, if they like to go to bed early make sure they feel comfortable enough to be able to do that.

The goal is to give.  Allow them to walk away and feel comfortable, glad, encouraged, welcomed, loved. They should be glad they came and excited to want to do it again, or to do it for someone else. Not glad to go home because of lack of something. They should feel encouraged because of good, godly, healthy conversation. They should feel full because plenty since you were prepared foodwise.

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

Who have you had over lately?


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Black Bean Chicken over Rice

Sometimes you have random things in the pantry, and you have to improvise.  Tonight was one of those nights.  And it turned out amazing!

1 can black beans
2 large chicken breasts
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp minced onion
1/2 tsp onion powder
salt & pepper
3 cups rice

I use a rice cooker, and it is WAY better rice than the minute rice I was used to!  Such a great thing.  And so easy.  You should get one too. :)

Cook the chicken over medium to low heat with the broth and all the seasonings, until cooked through and you can shred it easily.  If the broth boils down, add a little more to keep it moist.  When the chicken is shredded add the rinsed can of black beans, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Serve over rice!  Great flavor.



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