I am allergic to goals and averse to resolutions. I love to dream, but I prefer my dreams in rosy shades of vague. Details and action plans make me tired.

Oh, January. Oh, month of optimism and ambition. I love you.

But I do not trust you.

*

Or, perhaps, I do not trust myself.

For though I am no setter of goals, I, too, long to turn over that proverbial new leaf. I, too, desire healthier, cleaner, and more organized. Like you, perhaps, I want more here and less over there in 2017.

But I am prone to winter lethargy despite the new energy of a new year.

Quite likely, I will purchase the supplies but never complete the project.

Bad habits may be hard to break, but good habits are so very hard to form.

*

To succeed in gathering up a few new things for this new year, I must sneak each goal past my usual defenses. I must begin new habits without admitting the attempt.

For instance, I want to host more people in my home, but I struggle to pass the gauntlet of my calendar.

This day? Or this?

I struggle to summon the mental energy to plan and prepare.

What will I cook? When will I make that extra trip to the grocery store? Is half an hour enough time to clean the guest room?

What I need is a habit of hospitality.

What I need is for hospitality to flow, to simply happen without much planning and without a great deal of thought.

Hospitality like a glass of water first thing in the morning.

Hospitality like a daily walk.

Hospitality like a blessing prayer before each meal.

*

The good news is that good habits breed good habits.

The easy rituals and routines that sustain my family can also sustain my guests.

With regular days for cleaning and for laundry, with regular nights for making pizzas or simmering soup, we can welcome guests with little extra trouble or extra thought.

Though extra chairs and soup bowls are good to have on hand.

*

You may or may not share my goal to grow in hospitality this year, but I imagine most of us desire a healthier new year. I pick up and drop other kitchen habits, like bread baking or yogurt making, with regularity, but homemade kombucha is the one habit that has stuck for years. The probiotics are good for the body, the bubbly, tart, apple-cider taste is good for the taste buds, and home-brewing is good for the grocery budget. Did I mention it’s easy? I’m sure that’s the primary reason this healthy kitchen habit has stuck. It is also true that kombucha itself is hospitable. I have lost count of the extra “SCOBYs” I have passed on to departing guests.

Kombucha
Kombucha is a fermented drink made from black tea. It is bubbly, tart, and full of healthy probiotics.
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 12 cups non-chlorinated water
  2. 4 bags organic black tea
  3. 1 cup organic cane sugar
  4. 1 SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast: available for sale online)
  5. 1 cup kombucha (store-bought or saved from a previous batch)
Instructions
  1. Bring four cups water to a boil. My well water has no chlorine, but you can use a filter or leave the water sitting out until the chlorine has evaporated.
  2. Clean a glass, gallon-sized, wide-mouthed jar with soap and hot water. Make sure the glass does not cool off too much.
  3. Once your water boils, let cool for one minute (to avoid breaking glass!), before pouring over tea bags in the jar. Steep for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Remove tea bags. Stir in one cup sugar.
  5. Add eight cups cool or cold water.
  6. As long as your tea mixture is not too hot, add starter kombucha and SCOBY. Cover with breathable paper or cloth (cheesecloth, coffee filter, etc.) and secure well with a rubber band.
  7. Place in a warm spot to ferment for 7 to 30 days. The higher the air temperature, the quicker the fermentation. (In winter, I keep my kombucha jars warm on an electric seed-starting mat.)
  8. After 7 days, begin tasting for desired flavor. I find this easy to do with a straw.
  9. When the kombucha is tart but not too tart, reserve one cup for the next batch. Give the newly-formed SCOBY to a friend or toss. Store kombucha in the refrigerator in plastic-lidded glass bottles.
Notes
  1. You can find many variations on this basic method, along with more detailed advice and instructions (including kombucha safety and how to flavor your brew), in books like Real Food Fermentation by Alex Lewin and on websites like kombuchakamp.com.
Grace Table http://gracetable.org/
Christie Purifoy / Posts / Blog

Christie Purifoy earned a PhD in English literature at the University of Chicago before trading the classroom for an old farmhouse and a garden. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and four children, where she is witness to the seasonal beauty of God’s good creation. Her book Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons is out now from Revell. She blogs at www.christiepurifoy.com

  • SimplyDarlene
    SimplyDarlene
    http://www.simplydarlene.com

    “I prefer my dreams in rosy shades of vague.” <– Ha! Me, too.

    Happy New Year blessings to you, Christie.

    January 4th, 2017 10:27
    Reply
    01
  • Danielle Jones
    Danielle Jones
    http://www.danielleayersjones.com

    Our habit of hospitality is to try to have a family over for dinner at least once a month. It’s sometimes more or less, but having a goal in mind does help us not just get caught up in house project or get lazy. It does sometimes require a lot of energy, it’s true. I’ve also grown in asking people over “last minute” which in general I’m not good at.

    January 4th, 2017 11:00
    Reply
    03
    • Christie Purifoy
      http://www.christiepurifoy.com

      I love this idea! And, I agree, just having a frequency goal in mind is so helpful. As are last-minute invitations! There is so much grace in last-minute hospitality. It may be my favorite kind.

      January 4th, 2017 11:02
      Reply
      04
  • Lynn D. Morrissey

    Christie, I think that hospitality as a goal, an intention, a lifestyle is really a wonderful aspiration, and it’s Biblical, of course. The other day I wrote the word hospitable in a book I was reading (I write to my books to dialogue with their authors). And it suddenly struck me (I know this will be a duh moment to you, because you already know it), but it suddenly struck me that the word TABLE was embedded in hospitable. Our family’s purpose statement is “encouraging hospitality,” and we try to do that especially in hosting holiday meals for the entire family (for all the major holidays of the year). Michael and I have opened our home to the ever-growing brood for forty-one years. It didn’t matter that our first home, Linden Cottage, wasn’t as big as our current one, Ingleside (which means hearthside). At Linden Cottage, we set up tables in our living room, front porch (weather permitting), and two bedrooms. Obviously guests also ate in the kitchen and dining room. It mattered not that nothing matched. What was matchless was the hearts shared around those tables. But I need to be more hospitable in the spur of the moment–more willing to welcome spontaneity in the gatherings (especially when things aren’t orderly. My kitchen table is often more hospitable to my books than to our meals–ugh)! Anyway, you’ve set me to thinking of how we can better live out our family purpose. Here’s to you and your vision as you seek hospitality through those rose-colored glasses (and maybe rose-colored drinking glasses on your table!), Christie. A very Happy New Year to you and yours!
    Love
    Lynn

    January 4th, 2017 11:26
    Reply
    05
    • Katie

      Oh Lynn,
      SO love this, “What was matchless was the hearts shared around those tables.”
      What a legacy you are growing and leaving for and to your family!
      And thank you for pointing out that “table” is found within “hospitable”. Had not noticed that and it is a great take-away:)
      Gratefully,
      Katie

      January 4th, 2017 11:49
      Reply
      06
      • Lynn D. Morrissey

        Thank you so much for your kind words, Katie. Yes, isn’t it amazing who suddenly God grants new eyes to see what we’ve overlooked a long time?! 🙂 May He continue to open your eyes to new discoveries!

        January 4th, 2017 13:27
        Reply
        07
  • Katie

    Can so relate to these:
    “But I am prone to winter lethargy despite the new energy of a new year.”
    “Quite likely, I will purchase the supplies but never complete the project.”
    “Bad habits may be hard to break but good habits are so very hard to form.”
    Thank you, Christie for this post and practical suggestions! I am really enjoying your book (my daughter gave it to me as a Christmas present)!
    Gratefully,
    Katie

    January 4th, 2017 11:41
    Reply
    08

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *