come to the table {giveaway} *CLOSED*

why invite someone to our table?

isn’t it too much trouble, time, work, mess and risk?

hospitality can be hard. i love to entertain, but sometimes i can get caught up in the details and it can be overwhelming. my personality (believe it or not) leans towards an introvert. thankfully, i am surrounded by dear women at my church who epitomize grace and hospitality. sue moore donaldson is one of them.

bk1

in her book, Come to My Table—God’s Hospitality and Yours , sue tackles this question with a spatula in one hand and a Bible in the other, sharing favorite recipes, like lori’s orange scones, and reminding us of Jesus who invited us to come to Him first.

her book is filled with simple tips, over 75 recipes, and encouragement to know God’s welcome for yourself. Come to My Table invites you to practice hospitality for all the right reasons.

here’s what sue says about her book:

Does God want the whole world in your living room? Probably not. But He does want you to invite. Who in your world has not seen your kitchen sink? It’s time. Trust Him for the courage to be His welcome.

**********

sue wants to give one of her books away to a pleated poppy reader. to enter, in the comments answer this question from sue:

Describe a time you RECEIVED some heart-warming hospitality–grand or not, but hit the spot!

sue will choose one winner based on all the comments received. good luck!

**********

you can  order sue’s book here or if you are local you can pick it up at the parable bookstore in SLO.

also stop by and visit sue’s blog. she has more recipes and tons of funny stories!

 

Comments

  1. 1

    This past Spring our boys were playing baseball. You spend a lot of time in the stands with other parents. Several times someone would say “Hey, what are you doing after this? Just come over. We’ll figure it out..” and we always did, ordered pizza, picked up a bottle of wine. I always happy and amazed by the grace and openess of people saying come on over….not having a care whether the house was clean or if they had food to feed you :)

  2. 4
    Brooke S. says:

    Every year for the past six years my dear friend and her family have opened their home to my family over Memorial Day weekend. With open arms they would have all three, then four and eventually five of us descend upon their house and incorporate us into their lives. They made us feel so welcomed and special, like we were the only visitors they ever took into their house. We loved our time with them so much that we recently moved MUCH closer to them and now with our “new,” big house, we have enjoyed welcoming them into OUR house.

  3. 6

    I have a friend who is an A-Mazing hostess. She has a blog showing dinners she prepares for people. But her focus is all about showing God’s love through serving. One day my daughter and I were at her house for a play date. By the time I needed to leave to get home to make dinner, I was exhausted (early stages of pregnancy exhaustion). She pretty much made me go lay down for a half hour and forget about dinner while she watched the girls. I didn’t really understand why but I did what she said. When I woke up from the little nap, I went out to the kitchen. She handed me a bag of homemade soup that she had in her freezer just for situations like mine.
    I do have the desire to bless people in similar ways. She is a major inspiration to me. I also feel like God is calling me to open up my home and be a servant. But to be honest, I feel so nervous about it and am not sure where I would start. The book sounds like an awesome place to help me get started.

    • 7
      Angela Daniel says:

      Recently, my husband and I, simple pastors, were invited into the home of a very wealthy couple. They served us with such grace and enthusiasm, they put us right at ease. Though they have dined with billionaires and lived in great wealth, they treated us like honored guests. It was humbling and a good reminder to give this gift to others. I struggle with this area, because cooking isn’t a natural gift of mine. I love the premise of this book, that we invite others, because we have been invited by the King. It’s an area that I need supernatural help with! I love being with people, but having them over intimidates me.

    • 8

      Thanks for sharing, Angela and Jessica – great examples, both. Just follow what your hosts did. I like bagged soup in the freezer for just those times to bless another (just double yours next time and freeze half – only the Lord knows who will need it.) Bless you, angela — you have gifts I don’t have that I would need to practice. This one gets easier with practice – start simple. Start with one person. Go from there.

  4. 9

    I was visiting my cousin, a missionary in Malawi. A native couple invited the entire household down for a meal. 9 adults and 4 children crowded into the Trooper and bounced over the dirt roads to their village. We marvelled at the woman’s strength as she stirred the thick nsima, made if I remember correctly of corn meal and water. Our feeble arms could hardly move the wooden spoon in the thick mixture! And then we sat on straw mats in their dirt yard and the neighbour children pressed their noses through the fence to see the many white people gathering to eat in their very own village. We feasted on nsima and ndiwo under the African moon and laughed and talked and ate with our fingers. Then our host announced that it was time to think of Jesus, and someone produced hymn books. We did our best to pronounce the beautiful Chichewa words as we lifted our voices in song and our voices blended in praise to our wonderful God. It was a night I will never forget, and cherish always.

  5. 11

    When I was about four I fell when running across our next door neighbor’s driveway and skinned my knee. An elderly lady named Lavinia lived there. She came out and took me into her house. She cleaned up my knee, put a bandage on it and gave me a slice of cheese. One of my very earliest memories.

  6. 13

    A year and a half ago my husband and I moved from an area that we had lived in since we were toddlers. All our family, friends and familiarity was in our rear view mirror. We had this exciting and equally scary adventure ahead of us. When we got to the San Luis Obispo area we knew we had to connect with a local church and build new relationships. Finding a new church family was frightening because we had never done it before. When we arrived at a local church on our first weekend here, we were greeted by two older (or should I say wiser) couples who immediately made us feel welcome. Since that first Sunday over a year ago they have kept a constant connection to us whether it’s a dinner in their home, checking to see how our week has been or encouraging us in our new ministies here. They showed us in a very real and practical way that hospitality is a huge blessing to those we share it with.

    • 14

      no kidding – that is so great. my folks would scout the congregation for new folks and invite them over. i love that this happened for you, elizabeth. it can be rare, sadly.

  7. 15
    Laurie Kearnes says:

    My mother was the queen of hospitality. If someone came to the door anywhere close to dinnertime – they were invited – whether we had enough for for all of us or not- mashed potatoes and gravy go a long way. And her rolls were famous. I try to be like my mom and invite people on the spur of the moment. She was such a good example to me.

    • 16

      oh! rolls! Can you send me her recipe?? you’ve a great and grand heritage, rolls or not. (see my website for heavenly biscuits – the poor cousin of rolls but light and lovely.)

  8. 17

    We recently had a family reunion in Beaver Creek, Colorado. At the end of the family time, we wanted to extend our vacation and travel around and explore the state of Colorado a bit. We knew an aunt & uncle of a close friend lived in Colorado so we contact them for some advice on “must see” attractions and places to stay.

    After giving us some helpful advice, they invited us to come to their home for a BBQ one night. Well, that invitation turned into an insistence that we stay with them for 3 days!! If inviting a family of 4 (with 2 little kids!) into your home for 3 days weren’t enough, when we arrived we discovered we weren’t the only guests! Their 3 grown daughters were all living with them for the summer and they had 2 college exchange students there who had been living with them for the past school year! The 5 20-somethings all had multiple friends visiting each day…needless to say it was a FULL house!

    One of the couple’s daughters vacated her room and bathroom and bunked with a sister so we could have complete reign over the bathroom. They dug out packed-away toys for my kids to play with and made sure to beat everyone in the house to the kitchen in the morning so we could awake to the aromas of pancakes, bacon, and eggs cooking. Try as we might, we could not lift a finger!

    This amazing, godly couple was such an example to my family of Christ-like hospitality! Hospitality has never come naturally for me and I learned SO much in those three days with the Watsons!

  9. 19
    Tara Chandler says:

    Anyone in this situation may have justifiably found it awkward or even painful to build a relationship with your son in laws significant other (eventually wife) after loosing their own daughter just months earlier, but that’s exactly what my husbands in laws did. After just 9 months of marriage, my husband’s wife passed away suddenly and unexpectedly one night just after they prayed together, to an undetected congenital heart defect. My husband was devastated to loose his wife after such a short time together. My husband dearly loved his in-laws and spent the first week after his wife’s death sleeping on their couch just trying to keep breathing each day. Just days later his beautiful mother in law told him point blankly, “i still want you to be happy and find love again and go onto have a family.” It would be just months later that we would meet and fall for each other instantly, we were inseparable after the first date. By the third date my future husband explained to me he had been married once before and lost his wife just months earlier, and that in addition to loving him, his in-laws wanted to have me over for dinner (and little did I realize, life). I reluctantly agreed to such an awkward dinner because I was head over heels for my future husband..even tho inside I was screaming in nervousness to say the least. Who does this kind of thing? Will they like me? Tell me to scram? Why am I even agreeing to this?

    To my utter disbelief, I was welcomed with open arms and hugs at the front door (and if there was awkwardness, they hid it well). :-) they were warm, inviting, and even after my husbands father in law accidentally called his other daughter by his deceased daughter’s name and everyone broke down in tears, the love only grew stronger from there. From then on we were expected at Sunday dinners. On my wedding day to their son in law, they provided much of the help that went into our wedding. Today, 13 years and 4 kids later, they are affectionately called grandma and grandpa by our children. I know that there have to had been times that it wasn’t easy for them (and I realize that there still may be tough times) and I’m grateful that they had (and continue to have) the courage and strength to carry on. On occasion, I get to tell people about just how our relationship works, and most of them are amazed. The ones that do believe in some higher power aren’t as amazed because they have a better understanding of the Plan of Salvation and eternity. I just want to thank especially my husbands sister in law who recently told me: “Thank you for not replacing, but being another woman that I am proud to call a sister.” This family knows no bounds to their hospitality and Christ-like love. I asked my husband’s mother in law once how I could ever repay her for her love and she replied “just be nice to everyone you meet from here on out”…One in a million this family, this is hospitality at its finest.

    • 20

      I KNEW i would need kleenex to read all of these! how wonderful – what a great example of God’s love and healing. hospitality toward you granted them healing as well, i’m sure. what a story!

  10. 21

    Two months ago I moved from Northern Ireland to the Czech Republic to serve as a missionary. Last night was my first night in my own place. For the last month, after a month of language school, I lived with my boss and his family who just loved me so well, made me feel like I was part of the family and not a guest. It was incredible. And as I sit here in my new home, unpacking boxes and assembling furniture I am just so excited to think about opening my home to those whom I will serve, although that idea is also really daunting!

    • 22

      Just remember what you just wrote: you were loved well. You know the expert in that, God- He will show you how – start simply. so fun to have your own place to open to another.

  11. 23

    When my father was in his last days due to ALS a family in my mother’s town graciously hosted a very special Christmas dinner for us. They didn’t have us to their home, they didn’t even eat it with us.. it was a total act of service. Food piping hot delivered to our door with all the trimmings. Some would say that it’s not hospitality unless it is in their home, we however felt blessed beyond measure. For just a moment, that family took a grieved and stress filled family and wrapped it in their arms and gave us togetherness and memories for years to come.

  12. 25

    The first night of our cross country move, my husband and I slept at my Aunt and Uncles house. We showed up late at night and very tired. My Aunt had the bedroom ready, glasses of cold water and the wifi password all ready for us. It was such a blessing!
    Alesha

  13. 27

    When I was a teenager I went to a large church function in another state. One of my friend’s mom made a HUGE down-home spread and invited about 30 of us kids up to their place on the mountain. The love that we felt from them was even more impressive than the food she prepared.

    • 28

      Are you still in touch with either? I bet she’d love to hear you still remember that night. My mom did the same – served homemade meatball soup! Served about 50 – (easy as pie, easier, actually…)

  14. 29
    Jenn Ferris says:

    Last year my oldest daughter had some serious health problems and we spent a lot of time at Childrens Hospital of Knoxville for many long test and appointments. The hospital had a group of high school volunteers who dressed up and visited with all the patients. They were wonderful. Not only did they offer to provide drinks, get your lunch, kleenex, etc., they also did face painting, tattoos, passed out puzzles and games, along with coloring books and crayons. They were simply wonderful and a blessing to my heart. They even played with and helped to entertain my youngest daughter while we waited as my oldest had test. I remember thinking that the Lord had truly blessed these young people with the gift of hospitality to help people so graciously in a time of need and it reminded me of the Good Samaritan. The experience truly filled my heart and reminded me of the importance of always being hospitable to those around us in all situations because it offers the chance to show the love of Christ.

  15. 31

    I am usually the one that likes to host, but we have been super bad at getting together with people this past year, due to increased work loads. I am looking forward to hosting more. A time that really touched me, and it was small, was when my 8 month pregnant friend invited me over for supper when our husbands were away together. It refreshed me so much to sit and talk with her, and to let our kids run around together. It made me realize how much I’ve missed being hospitable! :)

    • 32

      see? it’s the small things that make a difference! i’m working way more now, and it IS harder – so don’t be too hard on yourself and do something easy and simple. people just like being invited.

  16. 33
    kimberlee says:

    I could never forget the most gracious & generous hospitality given to me on a Christmas Eve. When I was a young adult I worked about 45 mins from home. A blizzard came while I was working and my mom called urging me to not come home in the blizzard, to go to a hotel or ask a friend if I could stay over. The thought of staying in a hotel alone on Christmas Eve was so depressing, but it was hard to bring myself to impose on a friend too. I knew of 1 friend in the area and her sweet parents were so welcoming. Beyond welcoming! They included me in their traditional Christmas Eve dinner of escargot! And had gifts for me even–coffee! And to this day, coffee is my favorite gift! They also had comfy sweats for me to sleep in. It was the weirdest thing to me to have been so included in the their small family for the biggest holiday of the year. But to them it was like they did that all the time!

  17. 35
    Laurie Randazzo says:

    Come to my table…..It was the first Christmas after losing our 20-year-old blue-eyed daughter. I was ready to just sit on the couch all day and be depressed. My niece along with her husband and his family, invited all of us to their house to join them for Christmas dinner. I was very reluctant to go but, I didn’t want to drag my two sons and husband down the depression road with me so we accepted the invite.
    It was a beautiful snowy day, their house was off the beaten track and, they had their house so warm and cozy with a fire going in the fireplace. It was so nice to get out of our house and be greeted with warmth, family and friends plus, good food. One of my other nieces ventured out that snowy day to have us all meet her three-week newborn son.
    I am so thankful for all of them for welcoming us in their home. I’m sure our angel was smiling as well.

  18. 37

    I adore it when one of my best friends’ family comes to visit – they always invite us over for a traditional New Mexican meal, with homemade tortillas, pinto beans, enchiladas, and sopapillas. I always feel so welcome and I love getting to experience a different culture!

  19. 39

    We have dear friends who know that it’s not the meal and food that make our time together, it’s the open house and hearts that are there. Their house isn’t perfectly clean, there are kids toys scattered about and there are no apologies for the imperfections, lack of centerpiece and Pinterest worthy decor. So freeing to be in their home!

  20. 41

    There is a single woman at my church who astounds me with the grace of her hospitality. She is what some would consider disabled, and yet she is DAILY welcoming both loved ones and strangers into her (imperfect yet beautiful) home AND heart. She is a noteworthy example of the Gospel for all to see, and her prayer is that she entertain angels… and do so well. If I were to be chosen as a winner, I would read this book eagerly, and then wrap it up and pass it on to my dear friend and inspiration, Melissa. Thank you!

  21. 43

    My husband joined the staff of a new-to-us church a couple of months ago. Two weeks later he had a family emergency and went out of town for several days. I was delivered a meal by my new church members every night that he was gone. I wasn’t even the one experiencing the loss first-hand, but they were so gracious to me. Also, we hadn’t shared with our new friends yet but I was pregnant and in the middle of the horrible all-day-sickness phase, so being on my own was really a challenge and their love was appreciated more than they even knew.

  22. 45

    I’ve been lucky enough to make a few trips as an adult to visit my grandmother in Brazil. She has a wide range of friends: from dignitaries to the maids of dignitaries. On each visit, I’ve been so touched by the generous hospitality of some of her friends who are very poor. There was one incident in particular where we were visiting a woman who lived with her adult autistic daughter in a small two-room shack. These women had nothing in their kitchen but some coffee and a few oranges, yet they offered each of us an orange. It’s bringing tears to my eyes as I type just remembering the moment. I’ve never been so humbled in my life and strive to embody the same sense of generosity and hospitality.

  23. 47

    After coming home from having my second son, tired and trying to adjust to a new baby after 7 years, the thoughts of cooking was too much to think about. God send the wonderful ladies from our church with a full five course meal! The most wonderful meal I have ever had prepared for me. Enough for lunch the next day, too!! Of course I thanked them profusely, but they will never truly know what this meal meant to our family! Thank God for Hospitality!

  24. 49

    The warmest hospitality I have and still receive is that from my mother. We are all adults now but no matter what, she will always manage to create a meal for me that takes me back to my childhood and all my fond memories of being her daughter.

  25. 51

    The warmest hospitality my husband and I have received was the gift of steadfast prayers, cards, phone calls, and home made comfort food after my husband was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. After receiving the devastating news, we reached out to our church family and friends for prayer but, received more than we ever expected! These people not only prayed (and cooked delicious meals for us!) but reached out to their friends and family to pass along the request. Before we knew it we had prayers being sent up on our behalf from all over the country! Hospitality came in the form of prayer and support to us…..and some really yummy chicken!

  26. 53

    My mother is the best hostess I know! We just got back from visiting her, in her home with our four kids for over a week! She never ceases to amaze me with the way that she welcomes us with food, good conversation, and a wonderful feeling of hospitality. I’ve learned so much from her and try to emulate her in how I host others that come to my home.

  27. 55

    When I was a single girl in my 30s, I was “adopted” by two different families in my church…I spent Sunday afternoons with one family and many Friday nights with another…I hope to one day be the blessing to others that these families were to me…inviting me into their homes & lives & giving me a place to belong when I was away from my birth family and waiting to start my own family. This sounds like a great resource for giving me the bravery I need to invite others into my home…in my new town where I hardly know anybody!

  28. 57

    Several years ago I traveled with my husband to his extended family out in PA. We stayed with one of his cousins and the wife had a simple but beautiful guest room complete with fresh flowers, clean towels folded on the bed (that matched the room no less), a brand new loofah for me and an amazing breakfast for us the next morning. I remember feeling so cared for and was determined to do that for any guests that came to our house. I’m pretty sure I haven’t even come close but I do try to make people feel welcome and thoroughly cared for.

  29. 59
    gypsyamykate says:

    If I am invited to share a meal with someone, I feel most at home when I am “put to work.” I appreciate being given an easy, non-critical task, like chopping salad vegetables or setting the table. Hanging out with the chef and participating in the meal prep blesses me.

    • 60

      me, too! my mom’s friends spent a lot of time at the sink in our kitchen – i like to prepare -i don’t like to clean up so blessed when my friends stick around for a bit. come on over!

  30. 61
    Amy Bafia says:

    My husband left me and the kids 5 years ago. Two years ago a friend reached out and said come to VBS at our church. So we came. Since that day we haven’t left. We were invited to dinners, to pool parties for the kids, and small groups for me. VBS…my children and I are all baptized and born again Christians now. And all it took was for God to say”Jenny, Amy and the kids need me invite her.” I just live telling that story. :)

  31. 64

    We lost a baby at 21 weeks and we were heart broken. I belonged to a MOM’s group at a church, but we were not believers. When we got home from the hospital there was a note on my door along with a schedule. The woman of the group got together and arranged meals for our family. My husband and I couldn’t believe that people we didn’t even know would go out of their way to provide a meal for us. A few of the woman purchased a rose bush for us in memory of our son. For the first time in my life, I felt the power of prayers. That group was my first link to Christ.

  32. 66

    Just the other day neighbors of ours invited my husband and I over for a goodbye dinner. We are both military families so its just something thats very common to do in the military life. My neighbors invited another couple who just came from the town we were about to move to so that we could ask them questions and learn more about our future home. My neighbor made a 7 course (!!!!!) french meal that was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever had. The thing is, it wasnt about being fancy- they adore cooking and french cuisine, and were loving on us the whole time. These two other families are about 10 years ahead of my husband and I in their military careers and lives and they spent the whole night encouraging us and loving on us. Its something I’ll never forget.

  33. 68

    A friend of mine posted an invite, to the first responder, for homemade pizza at her house. I felt like I won a prize! Yummy dinner, grown up conversation, playtime for the kids! The invite coincided with my husband being away for the weekend. It was the perfect gift and timing.

  34. 70

    About five years ago my mother in-law came to visit. It took her a whole year to make it to our house, we had moved 2hrs away. We had 4 girls at the time and they were so excited and happy to show her there bedrooms it was such a nice visit. Thank you for a chance to win, it seems like a nice refreshing book to read.

  35. 72

    My sister shows this kind of hospitality every week! She invites people over to simply watch TV together. She shares her food, her home, and gives people an opportunity to share their lives.

    I’ve personally been struggling with this. I love to have people over but I keep everything very surfacey. I’ve been asking God to help me make my relationships deeper and it’s so hard for me!

    I’ll definitely be looking this book up! Thanks for the post!

    • 73

      thanks for sharing, daylight. have you asked your sis what makes it easy for her? sometimes it’s just practice. hard at first, perhaps, but such great rewards as you see by these comments. bless you and keep it simple. I have a list of conversation starters i can send you if interested – email me.

  36. 74

    My daughter-in-law was in a terrible car accident and their kids needed to move in with us for several months – 4 of them from 14 down to 5 years old. The ladies at my church made over 35 freezer meals for us during that time. Ten families from the local public school brought meals to us during part of this time – believers and some not believers. It was humbling to be on the receiving end but oh, how it ministered to these grandparents.

  37. 76

    A sweet lady I met on the street in Kenya invited me and a friend into her home. Her home was smaller than one of my bedrooms. She cooked us beans and even went down to the corner and bought us both a coke. She had very little money but wanted her guests to have something special. We ate our little meal on the bed she shares with her 3 sons. She made us feel at home under her tin roof in a slum in Kenya.

    • 77
      sue donaldson says:

      Knowing and doing are two different things – your dear friend did both – great story!

    • 78
      sue donaldson says:

      What a wonderful example – I wonder what made her want to share her home with you two? I know you’ll never forget it.

  38. 79
    Lindsey b says:

    my husband was going out of town for a men’s retreat and my dear friend invite me and my daughter to stay with her because she knows how much I hate being home alone. she made dinner for us, let us snuggle in for a movie, an even made a late night snack of cookies! it was a huge blessing and fun too!

  39. 81

    I gotta get that book!

  40. 82

    A few years ago, I was on a mission trip, leading 16 youth in England. We had already been in Ireland for 3 weeks, and we had been sleeping in tents at that point. So, we get to England and are greeted by host families and one offered to have me stay there by myself! Once I got there, I had no responsibilities, got to sleep in a bed, and was treated amazingly well! It was such a blessing and such a sweet time. I went back to visit that couple 2 years later when they were bringing home their first baby. I am now Auntie April :) Hospitality, to me, means becoming part of the family, and that was displayed to me so well when I was with that sweet couple!

  41. 84

    My pastors are some of the most hospitable people I know. When you go to their home you feel so comfortable to just be there. They make you a hot tea and bring you a snack even if you have told them several times that your fine. And you enjoy it. And their company and their comfy couch.

    • 85
      sue donaldson says:

      I love this – it’s a challenge because they have so much on their plate – good shepherding on their part. You are blessed.

  42. 86

    The most gracious gift of hospitality that I received were when we were stationed in a foreign country when my husband was active duty military. My children and I along with the other families were left behind when the guys were called away. Left alone with three children in a foreign country, I found myself experiencing slight case of depression. There was an older military spouse who God placed in my life during this period. She invited my children over for a playdate with her children and she offered me tea and cookies while the children played. I will never forget the peace I felt walking through her front door. It was like the room rose up to hug me. Here I was a newlywed, mom to 3 and all alone in a foreign country. I will always remember the way this small gesture of hospitality affected my life and my outlook. Which brought me into a closer relationship with God and with His help ended the depression I was experiencing.

  43. 88

    I have to say, some of the best times weren’t ‘fancy’ or filled with ‘just perfect decorations/settings, etc. One that stands out was meeting my in-laws for the first time. It was such a ‘scary’ time for me – I’m a true introvert and I knew I was going to a house of extroverts–two pastors, a son on his way to be a pastor and then the ‘angry-teenage younger brother’. I was bound for fun. But I went, because loves takes you to all kinds of places. And I tell you, they were truly what I expected–fun, a bit strange, but definitely not like me. But the thing that made that visit special, was that their time and space was safe and non-judgmental. They made me, probably the quietest shyest of my life, play charades. But as hard as that was, they were genuine, gentle and safe. So I was shy and almost ‘backwards’ in the social department but the space, while not fancy or the most beautiful, was SAFE! I loved it. I cherish that memory and now that my mother-in-law has passed, we often talk about that day and just recently I shared how special it was. (Albeit, uncomfortable too!) The key, was safe space! (Sorry for being so wordy!)

    • 89
      sue donaldson says:

      love this story, niki – and good for you to face the extroverts! I live with two introverts and I can drive them crazy, believe me

  44. 90
    Emily Mitchell says:

    I have traveled the world doing missions work and I am amazed over and over at how people without many of the earthly possessions we “require” in our lives- share and give their best to perfect strangers. Serving the best foods, using their best dishes- it is truly felt by the heart when services is given sacrificially!

  45. 92
    Jennifer C. says:

    A family I barely knew let me live with them for 6 months before I got married. It was a lovely home and very restful. Sometimes I wish I could go back and just rest on their comfy couch. It had a lovely view of the mountains and they were a very hospitable and loving couple who opened their home to me.

    • 93
      sue donaldson says:

      you were blessed – any couch with a view of mountains is where I like to land. How wonderful for you.

  46. 94
    Barbara Ortiz says:

    Those who have been most hospitable to me and my family have been those who just invite. They haven’t worried about cleaning the house before we came, but when I needed a friend the most, that is what they were. They invited me to be company to me, not to show off their possessions or house keeping skills. Did I notice? truthfully, yes. Did I care? truthfully, no. I am so appreciative of their friendship and even more appreciative of the invite. In fact I think I appreciated the invite even more because they didn’t let the order or disorder of their house stop them from being a friend to me.

    • 95
      sue donaldson says:

      love this line: “appreciated the invite more because they didn’t let the order or disorder stop them from being a friend to me.” Making a friend is more important than making the home perfect. Great sharing.

  47. 96

    Years ago when I was home from college I went out but forgot to take the house keys with me, but didn’t notice until after my friend dropped me off. My parents & sisters went out too–separately. It was around Christmas, about 10pm at night & I was freezing because I was not wearing a coat! This was before everyone had a cell phone. Luckily my grandparents lived 2 blocks away so I ran in the freezing cold to their house. My heart sank as I was getting closer & noticed all the lights were out–they weren’t home either. There was one more place I could try. I ran another 2 blocks and went to my old baby-sitters house. He & his wife were home and had guests over. I was so embarrassed to tell them I was locked out of my house and was freezing. But they just welcomed me in, laughed a little at me, gave me cake & coffee, and made me feel like I was supposed to be at their house the whole time anyway! He drove me home later after I got in touch with my parents. I’ll never forget that.

  48. 98
    jen smith says:

    we have some good friends that we used to do youth ministry with. we wanted to get together after sunday night church but neither of us had anything to ‘host’ with. we decided to go to their house and literally dug through their fridge and pantry and ended up having a great night. it showed me that there doesn’t have to be a lot of planning and money to open up my home to other people.

    • 99
      sue donaldson says:

      amen to that – you’ll enjoy the story of my folks foraging for bacon and eggs when guests stayed through dinner time. A good less for all of us.

  49. 100

    A woman from my church took my 20-something self and then boyfriend (now husband) under her wings. She and her husband were raising their SIX children and they were busy! BUT–they always made us feel like we could and should drop by any time. One day I just sat and talked with her as she loaded and sorted her laundry! The times we spent around the table with them shaped our (now) marriage and parenthood. We would leave their house and say, “We want to parent that way!” I am so grateful for the ease with which they entertained us, and think of them often when I get stressed out about having people in my home. Reeeellllaaaxxx, Wendy….It’s the company and conversation that counts…and that can even happen over dirty laundry!

  50. 102

    I have learned beautiful hospitality from living in two other countries, as well as from my neighbours, growing up in Texas. Sometimes it was as simple as pulling out a jar of olives, rolling up small pieces of lunch meat over them and adding a toothpick. Or maybe offering a glass of wine and a piece of dark chocolate. Or even just a simple cup of coffee. The thing that meant the most was the common thread of thoughtfulness and generosity and that spirit of “what’s mine is yours” and “you are welcome here”. I try to practice the same in my home and it is such an honour to carry on what I have been shown over the years.

    • 103
      sue donaldson says:

      so lovely that you’ve known the value of carrying on what you’ve been shown. I’ll have to try that olive/lunch meat thing. I have used crème de mints on a saucer w/ coffee – that works, too.

  51. 104

    Last fall I had to have a wisdom tooth taken out while I was under anesthesia. I had a dear friend who was going to sit with me and then take me back to her house to recover for a bit. She was very sweet to get me a blanket and set me up with a drink and she even made me eat a little bit of potato while I was there. It was so nice to be taken care of and feel loved.

  52. 106

    Oh, me, Oh, my – love these comments – I’ll have to write a second edition called “generosity at the table” – thanks so much !
    PS something you may not know is that we’ve been remodeling for 8 years (not finished) and we’re still married…I did get a kitchen ceiling sometime last year. (: We just went to Idlers and bought a slew of appliances which may or may not stay in their boxes in the garage for quite awhile. If you come over, I’ll show you (the boxes…)
    thanks again – keep those comments coming and feel free to email me.
    PS And, let me know who you invited for coffee this week…

  53. 107

    we just moved to a new neighborhood. Our neighbors (a family with 3 kids) came over to deliver fresh baked cookies, and a drawing of our homes to welcome us. It was such a sweet gesture and helped since we haven’t met any of our neighbors yet.

  54. 109
    Michelle Underwood says:

    My family was playing music at a friend’s church. She invited us to come to dinner after we got everything set up. It was so nice because we didn’t have to worry about finding a restaurant or how long that might take. Food always tastes better at someone’s house than eating at a restaurant!

  55. 111

    After my daughter was born, several families from church brought us meals , so very needed as new parents when daddy went back to work!

  56. 113

    About 10 years ago God let me see that I was blessed with a house so I could “have people over”. In that time we’ve had Bible discussion groups, financial studies, game nights, smoothie parties, swap meets, song fests, etc. Our house is open to extend hospitality with no expectation of reciprocal invitations. We are blessed and feel grateful for the opportunity to share our blessings. My husband worries we won’t have enough food but we always have an abundant table and have never run short. I remind him that God provides for us and sends the guests. The real purpose of the get-togethers are not eating, but rather fellowship. In that spirit the our guests often grace the table with food and open their hearts to welcome each other. People arrive strangers and leave friends. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

  57. 115

    A new couple moved to the area and joined our small group. The first time I was at their house for small group, our lovely hostess offered me tea – remembering a comment that I had made weeks prior about not being a coffee drinker. Such a small thing. I just felt so welcomed and loved knowing that she had taken the time to prepare something extra for me alone. That’s such a great example to me of being Christlike and putting others first – actually paying attention to what people say and remembering it!

  58. 117
    Carolyn W says:

    Every Christmas season, someone in our neighborhood hosts a lovely ladies coffee. It’s a time for the women of the neighborhood to get to know each other better, enjoy a Saturday morning potluck brunch, and share tips for the holiday. Quite often it’s hosted by one of my kind neighbors named Sue Donaldson. :)

    (Is this cheating? I’d still love to win a copy of the book!)

  59. 119

    Last Sunday for an end-of-summer hurrah a dear family from church invited all the kids and families for a day at their river cabin (we’re part of a small church). They spent the day taking the kids tubing and boating while most of the parents visited around the campfire. This family (parents and grown children) are the perfect example of generous hospitality. Whether at their home or their river cabin, you leave their presence refreshed.

  60. 121

    I remember as a college student traveling with a choir. I got to experience multiple families opening their homes to strangers for an overnight stay. So many of these would be beyond gracious with meeting our needs as well as love on us through yummy food and good conversation!

  61. 123

    I didn’t even have to think about this one.

    When I was in my late teens, my father had hip surgery. On the day that my mom was to bring him home from the hospital, I was teaching piano at my teacher’s studio. My mom promised to work it out to where she would pick up my dad and then be there for me once I was done.

    Well, lessons began and ended, and my parents were not there. I assured my teacher that I would be fine and just stay and play the piano until they arrived. She went in her house to eat dinner with her family after I declined her offer to join them.

    I thought everything was okay, but began to be worried as it got later and later. I heard the door to her kitchen slide open and she came in the studio with a slice of warm gingerbread on a napkin for me.

    It’s hard to describe the comfort I received from that simple act. I honestly don’t remember if she even said anything encouraging. I just know that in a very unassuming way, the love of Jesus poured out of her to meet my need in that moment.

    My parents soon came and everything was fine. But I will never forget that slice of gingerbread.

    • 124
      sue donaldson says:

      warm gingerbread could very well be the answer to most world problems. What a great memory. A friend gave me a wonderful gingerbread pumpkin recipe – see site.

  62. 125

    We had long standing plans that just seemed to get pushed back by our kids’ schedules. Finally, the day was near and we needed to plan the details of our meal for our families. She is amazing at this, me…not so much. Knowing I just started a full time job this week, she invited us over and made us a simple, yet thoughtful meal. The most treasured part was the asking, it is what I need to do more of. Not worry about the details, just do it. Time is precious.

    • 126
      sue donaldson says:

      time is precious. You’re so right. I love your line: “the most treasured part was the asking.” Yep.

  63. 127

    When I was in college — over 20 years ago — I befriended an older woman who cleaned my floor in the residence hall. She was very helpful and friendly to everyone, but spoke English with a very heavy accent. Every time I would see her working in the building I would take a few minutes to talk with her. My class schedule was such that I would often see her eating lunch. I would stand in the doorway of the small room that served as the supply closet and her break room and talk to her as she ate. The room was tiny with a tall, thin window and just enough space for a small table and two wooden chairs — lined up next to the cleaning supplies, and vacuum cleaner, and trash bags. I do recall there being some special touches to the space, some things she placed to make it personal and pretty.

    One day she invited me to join her for a lunch. She must have asked about my favorites, because she made me a steak on a little plug in griddle, right there in her break room. I don’t recall many details of the meal, but I remember the smell and sizzle of that steak, and the overwhelming feeling of being cared for. I think there was a salad and maybe brownies for dessert, I am not quite sure. Though I do remember painting her fingernails afterwards — my contribution to our time together.

    It has easily been 20 years since I have thought of this meal, and it is striking to me how this diminutive, smart, kind woman could transform her small supply closet into a place filled with such hospitality and kindness. Maybe it was she who befriended me after all.

    • 128
      sue donaldson says:

      what a great story – steak on a hot plate in a cleaning closet! Mutual hospitality. You took the time. She reciprocated. Love it.

  64. 129

    We had just returned from my father’s funeral……me, my husband, and our two young daughters. I was pregnant with our third daughter. We were mentally and physically exhausted, fatigued really. We were in the door less than 5 minutes before we heard the doorbell. It was a dear couple from our Sunday School class, and it had been on their hearts to bring us a dinner. What perfect timing! We invited them to stay and eat with us, and it was one of the best meals we had ever shared with friends. God has perfect timing and knew exactly what we needed at that time :)

  65. 131

    I don’t have a particular story…but I have this friend. She is more like a “sister-friend”. Hospiltality is definitely one of her God given gifts. It’s not that she goes super out of her way or spends a lot of money for our visit to her home. But it is her sweet spirit, the warm tea she serves, and the sense of peace that fills her home. Her home is a place of rest and I am always encouraged after leaving. :)

    • 132
      sue donaldson says:

      It doesn’t take money – it doesn’t even take tea, altho that is lovely – what a great friend you have!

  66. 133

    My husband was out of town for a couple of weeks and I was at home with our toddler in addition to working. I was completely overwhelmed one day and freaking out about the amount of time left on his trip. I sent a text message to a friend and she invited me to her house for dinner so our kids could play. When I went out to the car it wouldn’t start. I was so desperate to get to her house that I loaded my kid into the stroller, cut through my back yard, jumped a fence, walked through a neighbor’s yard (whom I”ve never met) and then walked on a trail to get to my friend’s house. Along the way I had to lift the stroller over a tree that had fallen on the path as well. But getting to her house, having a simple meal, and knowing that she loved me and had come through put my fears to rest. I was able to walk home (over the tree, down the path, through the neighbors yard, over the fence etc) with confidence that we would be ok for the rest of my husbands trip. That evening my friends simple invitation and meal, welcomed me into a safe place and gave me encouragement to rely on God and that His people would help me. It was amazing.

    • 134
      sue donaldson says:

      You are hilarious. I must blog this – let me know, can I? anyone who can climb a tree with a stroller needs hospitality. Such a great friend you had at the right time.

  67. 135

    My friend brought out her sweet teacups when she invited me over. Inspired me to take out my good teacups too.

    • 136
      sue donaldson says:

      I have a friend like that too – Kathy brings out her mom’s fiesta ware and we feel so elegant and fine.

  68. 137

    When we had our son two years ago, we had several members of our church being us meals. It was the biggest blessing to us. Some made meals, some brought things we had to put in the oven first, and some brought fast food. It touched us all the same since they all made an extra effort to be a blessing.

    Hospitality has been something on my heart for quite some time now.

    • 138
      sue donaldson says:

      Oh, good – I hope it stays there and comes out in all sorts of wonderful ways, laura. It’s not the fuss or the food, it’s the heart, as you’ve experienced.

  69. 139
    Shannon stinson says:

    I will never forget, it was about 19-20 years ago. My best friend and I traveled to Nashville, Tn. often in preparation to move there once I graduated high school. One of our weekend adventures to Nashville, my best friends car broke down near the interstate. We knew no one at the time, we were young and not sure what to do.
    After a very short time sitting there with a broken down vehicle, The Lord sent an angel to us (I believe) that stopped to help us. She was a woman running errands and came upon us when we really needed the help. She offered to take us to her house and help us and feed us a meal. She opened her home to us and offered us a place to stay for the night. We felt safe and trusted The Lord sent her our way to provide the help we needed. I can’t remember her name, as it was so long ago, but I have never forgotten her actions of love and hospitality to two young strangers. She reached out to us, opened her home and her family to two young girls. She had a servant heart and I will never forget it.

    • 140
      sue donaldson says:

      truly a southern Good Samaritan – so wonderful! I bet the Lord will send you a college student someday!

  70. 141

    the weekend previous to this weekend, a family we had never met, opened up their home to our family of 7, fed us and housed us for the night while we were out of town. It was a wonderful blessing!

  71. 143
    Carol MacNeill says:

    In 2005 our oldest son graduated high school. We decided to take our 3 sons (18, 16, and 14 years old) back to “the homeland” realizing time was slipping away. We went on a 3 week journey through England and Scotland. Half way through our journey we found ourselves in a beautiful old church in Lancaster England. We sat in the hard wooden pews feeling God’s glorious presence. During the greeting time we found ourselves chatting with a couple quite older than ourselves, soon interrupted by the ongoing service. After the church service, we rejoined our conversation. We asked the kind couple where a good place to eat lunch was. They told us to follow them as they were heading to their favorite place for lunch. We followed them quite a ways through the town and finally down a dirt road to a nursery where in the back we found a little cafe. Questioning our new friend’s choice, we awkwardly followed them into the line. To our surprise, our time together did not end in that line. We found ourselves eating lunch at the same table as our conversation continued. The fellowship with this kind couple so sweet! At the end of the meal the connection of friendship was made! Our new friends Roy and Ann Barry invited us into their home!! They said they would love to show us “their garden” (backyard for us Americans). They had used the very nursery where we ate lunch to express their creativity through God’s beautiful creation of plants and flowers and wanted us to take a peek. We gladly agreed to follow them to their home (who wouldn’t want a peek into a British home). Roy invited us out onto his newly finished greenhouse sitting area. We sat with delight chatting away. Before we knew it Ann appeared with a full British tea (as the day had worn on and it was now afternoon…time for tea). Ann blessed us with tea and milk, homemade scones with clotted cream, strawberries and a “new” fruit they had just discovered called a BLUEberry! Their generosity blessed us as Roy held the tiny cup of precious blueberries in his hand explaining that this was a very special new fruit that he wanted us to try (and yes, he did put the emphasis on the blue of blueberry). We questioned whether we should tell them this was a well-known fruit in America but accepted their generous offering of this special treat. We left their home hours later having shared stories, photos and our hearts. Our 3 sons learned a valuable lesson in hospitality and friendship that day and we all made 2 precious life-long friendships with our neighbors across the sea.

    • 144
      sue donaldson says:

      a beautiful story of tea and clotted cream and new best friends. How great your boys got to experience it with you. (maybe send them Cambria’s Blueberry Coffee Cake recipe off my website…(: )

  72. 145

    The first thing that came to my mind was when my daughter was the recipient of hospitality. My brother and sister-in-law kindly kept my daughter while my husband and I moved from one home to the other. My daughter, who was 5 years old at the time, still talks about how my brother made her a bubble bath, lit a candle and played soft music for her. She is 14 now.

  73. 147

    I can’t wait to read Sue’s book!
    Of course sweet memories of Cal Poly surface and the times that we as college students were invited, welcomed and loved into the homes of families in our church! Sue was one of them!
    Thanks for teaching me hospitality by living it, Sue!

  74. 149
    Hannah Reid says:

    I went to a friend’s house to return a shoe one of her daughters had left at our church after an event, my kids and I stayed watching movies, coloring and just relaxing for most of the morning. I was not made to feel in the way or that they had an agenda we were interrupting. I want people to have that feeling in my home…the freedom to stay and sit a while.

  75. 151

    my parents really go out of their way to make my family feel welcomed in their home. they work every single sunday afternoon to prepare a meal for us, and it is such a relief from having to plan another meal for my family. they work hard to give US a day of rest, and it is so unbelievable and appreciated!

  76. 153

    My husband and I have lived far away from family for our entire married lives. So when the holidays roll around we’d always find ourselves getting a bit homesick. Luckily, we made wonderful church friends who were eager to invite us to join their families for their celebrations each year. Little did we know that we would actually become family while sitting around their tables. We are so thankful for the example they set and are trying hard to reach out to make new friends in a new state once again. I would love to read this wonderful book and be inspired to reach out.

    • 154
      sue donaldson says:

      Friends to family – so wonderful – we’ve done the same most Christmas Eve’s for friends who don’t have family near. It’s a good tradition. And everyone is such good cooks!

  77. 155

    Impromptu hospitality is fun! One Christmas when our adult kids were all with the other side of their family, we went to see a movie with our neighbors. When we discovered no restaurants were open for dinner, we combined all our leftovers and shared a meal at their house.

  78. 156

    Our best friends moved from where we live now, to San Diego at the beginning of summer. They fortunate enough to buy a house right away. They got the keys to their new house and the moving truck delivered the boxes on a Saturday and then they opened their home to us for our first visit 4 days later. They rushed to unpack as many boxes as possible, but then dropped everything to entertain us and spend time with us while we were there. You would never have known that they had just moved in, were starting new jobs and living in a whole new community. To me, you can’t find better hospitality than that.

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