Ten years ago when I had hip replacement surgery, my dear friend Julie Kauflin offered to swap houses with me for my recovery since her home (unlike mine) had a master bedroom on the first floor. Even though I didn’t take her up on her offer, it’s a perfect example of Julie’s heart for hospitality.
Julie loves having people in her home: whether a couple or a large group of people, whether planned or spontaneous, for a short stay or a long visit. She’s a warm and creative hostess who makes it seem effortless—even though you know she’s invested much time and effort to make you feel welcome. Julie embodies that well-known Spanish saying: “Mi casa es su casa.”
Earlier this summer, Julie wrote some thoughts on “Intentional Hospitality” for a group of pastors’ wives. Her heart to serve and practical ideas were so encouraging that I asked permission to share them with our girltalk readers and she graciously agreed. So, without further ado, let me turn it over to my good friend, Julie.
by Julie Kauflin
Ah Summer… longer days, freer schedule, no school…it’s time to fire up the grill, have some folks over, and enjoy sitting out on the deck. I love summer! Can you tell? But if you’re like me, the summer can slip by in spite of all my best intentions. Please join me as I make some intentional plans, and exercise my desire with actual hospitality.
First things first, let’s talk to our husband about our desire to have some folks over.
“What days can you see this working?”
“How often would you have faith for having people over?”
“I’ll try to stay within the budget, but could we possibly find any money that we could add?”
He says maybe 2 times a month. Perfect…I have faith for that! I’ve realized that it helps me to include people in what is already in place. So, with our extended family coming over every Sunday…let’s start with adding people in to that mix. I’m already cooking, so let’s add a few more! We get the word out to singles, “come on over around 2:00.” It has been so much fun, we’ve built relationships, offered counsel and given the lonely a place where they feel part of a family.
Sundays I typically plan for 12 to 16 people. Since I get home from church later…I do some prep on Saturday, dessert and salad, marinate the chicken. Then I plan something quick and easy.
Some quick and easy meals have been:
Casseroles in the oven on time bake.
Chicken on the grill. (Lots of different marinades to try, or toppings for the chicken brings variety and flavor.)
Crock pot barbeque.
I’ve started planning on having appetizers out as I’m cooking. This has really helped people feel relaxed and welcome right from the start. Nothing fancy…chips and salsa, artichoke dip from Sam’s. We always have a cheese plate with crackers. I walk in from the meeting…start the grill and grill chicken. My girls start setting things out, set the table, and begin offering drinks.
The other times that seem to work for us are Friday nights. These will be more specific. We know we have the slot, so we keep our eyes and ears open for people we don’t know or people we want to deepen our friendship with. Maybe just a couple or a family. With a smaller gathering I feel more freedom to make some dishes that may be new or more labor intensive. I love to cook, so any chance to do something new is an adventure for me. Also with a smaller group we can really invest in this relationship, drawing them out and finding out about them.
Hospitality has been one of the biggest blessings our family enjoys. It has been so rewarding to see our family chip in, in a relaxed, unhurried fashion to prepare for having people in our home. Now I get the joy of seeing my married daughters and sons have a heart that welcomes others in to their homes, with joy.
[More from Julie later this week…]