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After The Storm

My father’s big hands light a hurricane lamp and pull a porch chair closer to his. With a gentle touch on my shoulder, he bids me sit. Trembling joints remind me I have not rested once today. Crackling portable radio grates against my ears, still squawking emergency broadcast After-Disaster instructions. He places a paper plate...

Simple Neighborly Acts

The first time I saw our street, it reminded me of a cross between Charleston's splashy Rainbow Row and The Truman Show--tall and long-but-narrow houses neatly arranged on postage-stamp lots, one after another after another. The house itself was a pie slice of the home we had lived in previously, but seasons change and it was the right...

The Return Home

Less than a week ago we were eight hours from home vacationing on the shores of the Atlantic. This morning I dropped my daughter at school for her first day of first grade. That means summer break is officially over at our house. My brain and my body aren't sure what to make of the rapid...

When Hospitality Is Hard

I've always been a big believer in hospitality. I've always said that it's not just about making room, it's about inviting people in. It's making people feel welcome not just in my home, but in my life as well. I've always tended to be an open-book, open-arms, open-home kind of person. Maybe it's because growing...

After The Storm

My father’s big hands light a hurricane lamp and pull a porch chair closer to his. With a gentle touch on my shoulder, he bids me sit. Trembling joints remind me I have not rested once today. Crackling portable radio grates against my ears, still squawking emergency broadcast After-Disaster instructions. He places a paper plate and a cup of water in front of me on a t.v. tray and urges...

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A Recipe Box, a Letter and Food Served With Love

Recently, here at the table, Elizabeth wrote this lovely post on spontaneous hospitality.  How often hospitality isn't about a beautiful table and a fabulous menu. It is about our time. Giving of ourselves in ways we might not realize are "hospitable." My mother died in March and as co-executor of the estate, I've spent several weeks at her house...emptying, sorting, throwing out or giving away 90+ years of accumulation. And the...

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Simple Neighborly Acts

The first time I saw our street, it reminded me of a cross between Charleston's splashy Rainbow Row and The Truman Show--tall and long-but-narrow houses neatly arranged on postage-stamp lots, one after another after another. The house itself was a pie slice of the home we had lived in previously, but seasons change and it was the right thing at the right time. I wondered how we'd handle living so close to others....

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The Return Home

Less than a week ago we were eight hours from home vacationing on the shores of the Atlantic. This morning I dropped my daughter at school for her first day of first grade. That means summer break is officially over at our house. My brain and my body aren't sure what to make of the rapid change of pace and scenery. I feel a bit like the rug (or beach towel)...

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A Ministry Of Flowers and Discovering Me

Finding Ourselves in Unexpected Ministry After putting my girls to bed, after our youngest's birthday dinner was celebrated, after the living room was obliterated with gift wrap, I snuck away into the garden.  With summer inching away, the sun setting earlier making the after bedtime watering, weeding, deadheading more difficult.   As I stood there in my garden, I was reflecting on how I got here, in this spot, watering a flower...

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Shine Like Lights

Do all things without complaining or disputing that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. —Philippians 2:14-15 (NKJV) The other night, we had friends over for dinner, and I am ashamed to admit that most of the words that came out of my mouth that evening were words...

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When Hospitality Is Hard

I've always been a big believer in hospitality. I've always said that it's not just about making room, it's about inviting people in. It's making people feel welcome not just in my home, but in my life as well. I've always tended to be an open-book, open-arms, open-home kind of person. Maybe it's because growing up as a pastor's kid, hospitality wasn't just something I was taught, it was always...

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How to Let Your Life Speak

On a sunny summer afternoon a few years ago, women representing four generations gathered around the dining room table at our family cottage in Canada.  The table was set with measuring cups, pie plates, a bag of flour and sticks of shortening. Before us, past a wall of windows, is a vast, still body of azure water we affectionately refer to as Round Lake. The place where generations have enjoyed...

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No Force-Fed Invitation

When I was small, I attended an Italian preschool run by Italian Nuns. Despite the fact that is has been well over 34 years since I ran around in my little pastel smock, giggling and speaking Italian to my little friends on the playground, I distinctly remember several snapshot moments from my days immersed in another culture, speaking another language, as if it were my native tongue.  Of all the...

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Tasting Grace in The Kitchen

In the kitchen. So much of life happens there. We celebrate the good times and mourn the sorrowful times over plates laden with food. Homework papers are returned to the classroom, randomly decorated by ketchup splatters. Friendships and romances happen over coffee and dessert. The kitchen is always the heartbeat of any home-based gathering, even when there is generous conversation space in the living room or the deck outside. I...

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