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Monday, September 28, 2009

The contest to win Karen Ehman's book is now closed. Congratulations to "shutterhappyhope" for winning!

I'd like to introduce you to one of the most organized, hospitable women I know: Karen Ehman. Karen is on the speakers team at Proverbs 31 Ministries, has written four books, and is in demand across the country to speak at women's groups. In addition to all that she is a loving wife and the busy mom of three.

Today, Karen has agreed to share some of her tips for taking hospitality on the road, and showing God's love to those around you. And she's giving away her book,


Heartfelt Holidays
by Karen Ehman

Well…can you believe it? Only seven weeks left until the kick-off of the holiday season. There will be presents to purchase, cookies to bake, a house to decorate and plenty of company to host.

While this festive time of year provides lots of opportunities for offering welcome in your home, why not look for ways to be hospitable on the road as you go about your daily days of life? The holidays are often a stressful, even lonely time for many. What can you do to sprinkle some cheer (and a extra dose of Christ’s love) to those you will see while you are out and about running your holiday errands?

Plenty! If you are intentional, you can seek to practice seemingly random but purposefully planned acts of kindness.


Here are some ideas for blessing others during the upcoming celebratory season. Please leave a comment telling us any of your ideas too. One sweet bloggy friend will be chosen to receive a signed copy of my book A Life That Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open Your Heart and Home to Others.

Hospitality on the Road Ideas

• Bake cookies for the break room at the local department store on the day after Thanksgiving when the store is swamped. Leave a thank-you note praising the employees’ hard work around the holidays. What a sharp contrast to the 50 customers they encountered earlier in the day screaming because they ran out of the latest electronic gadget that was advertised!

• Take hot cocoa to the charity bell-ringers who stand on the street corners and in front of the malls in town.

• Scrape windshields in the grocery store parking lot on a very snowy day. Or clean them if you live where it doesn't snow. Busy moms with their groceries in tow will be thrilled to have a clean and safe view of the road as they head for home. Leave a little note that reads, “Random acts of kindness. Pass it on.”

• Hang a thermos of hot cider on the mailbox for the mail carrier.

• My kids’ favorite—leave a plate of freshly baked brownies out in a covered container for the garbage men!

• Think of those who have recently lost a loved one and are facing their first Christmas alone. Include them in your family’s activities like attending your kids’ Christmas program at school or church. Or take a crock-pot of homemade soup and some fresh baked muffins to their house one night and help them decorate their home or address their Christmas cards. Offer to take them holiday shopping and out to lunch. It will touch their hearts to be included in your busy family’s activities at this often isolating time of year.

• Remember those who must work on the holidays in the hospital or at the police or fire station. Take them a platter of fresh vegetables and dip or assorted cheeses and crackers. Don’t forget a few cookies or some holiday fudge! Include some artwork crafted by your children depicting them in their various roles. Thank them for their service to the community, even on a day when most people are home with their loved ones.

• Adopt a Christmas family. Contact a local agency to get the name and address of a needy family. If possible, choose one that has children near the same age as yours. Shop for clothing, food, and toys for them. Deliver your items as a family. Try to keep in touch with them throughout the year with an occasional note or card.

The holidays are a perfect time of year to model for our children how to love others, even strangers! So get your creative caps on and venture out as a family to bless and be blessed! You’ll be so delighted you did!

Okay - now that you've read Karen's tips, let's hear it from you. Please post an idea for your favorite way to show hospitality during the holidays. On Thursday, we'll pick a random winner. Please make sure we have a way to contact you.

To read more from Karen, please visit her blog at: http://karenehman.com/home/
To purchase any of her books, please click here.

Reading these great tips for loving others during the holidays almost makes me shiver ... not from the cold (as it's 104 degrees here in Phoenix) but from anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas!

In His Love,

Glynnis

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

These are great hospitality tips that will certainly bless others.One act of kindness I do year round while waiting in the check out lane is let the person behind me move to the place in front of me. What a surprised look on their face! Here's a holiday hospitality I did one year when a dear friend was in the hospital on Christmas day. My family sat with her while her family had their family dinner and exchanged their gifts. What a blessing it was for me.
grammyathome

Julie Gillies said...

Hi Glynnis,

Can you believe the holidays are so close? As I sat in traffic with my daughter on Sept. 25th, I told her "Just 3 months until Christmas day!"...then nearly swooned! LOL

LOVE these tips. We've taken goodies to the police and fire station, but I LOVE the idea of blessing the bell-ringers, and helping address cards for the elderly. Excellent ideas!

Spring Fricks said...

One thing we have done during Christmas' past is take the kids on a shopping spree to Toys R Us. Only after we check out, we take everything we just purchased and put in the Marine's toys for tots bin. It's a lot of fun and it gets the kids thinking about others.

Right now however, I can't even believe the holidays are almost here. Wow.

Rebecca said...

I think too often I get caught up with the fact that I can't help out in BIG ways and miss the little ways I can be kind. Thanks for all the ideas.

Kim said...

Wow, what great ideas. I'm sad to say that I have never thought of these things, but I will now! Thanks so much for the wonderful tips.

Cindy H said...

Great ideas for the fast approaching holiday season.

Thank you for sharing :)

tiggerdaisy said...

What wonderful ideas!!! I want to be more intentional about random acts of kindness. I especially want to be more intentional about being sensitive to the Holy Spirit's guidance when it comes to blessing others.

Prayers and blessings!
Rebecca
tiggerdaisy@gmail.com

Elizabeth Bussey said...

How about packing up some sack lunches and then going downtown or anywhere the homeless are and passing them out.

You could even collect people's old blankets and coats and hand those out too!

Invite someone who is usually all alone to spend Christmas eve and morning with your family. Include them in all the festivities.

Stephenie said...

I love the idea of letting someone go ahead of me in the checkout line. How many times have I tried to get through the store in a hurry only to be brought to a stand-still while eaiting to make the purchase.

carlson2398@roadrunner.com

shutterhappyhope said...

I really appreciate the idea about remembering those who are working. I am a nurse and worked holidays for several years. Being big on tradition is was extremely hard for me to be away from my family for a long 13 hour shift. I know that I felt gratitude when my family would come up to bring food or cookies to us.

Amy said...

What wonderful ideas! My heart longs to do such great, yet simple acts of kindness. As much as I want to do that, it gets me thinking as to WHY I don't do those things more often. In this hurried society I guess it's easy to get caught up in the rush. Thanks for the reminder and I pray God uses this to help me put others first.

Mary said...

Thank you for sharing these wonderful ideas. I love the idea of leaving brownies for the trash men. On a very hot day this summer my children & I were outside when the mailman drove up. My son, who is 5, loves talking to the mailman. He told Mr. Don to stay where he was and ran to the refrigerator in our garage. My son came running down the hill with a nice cold Coca-Cola and a huge smile. My son told Mr Don that it was hot outside and he wanted to give him something cold to drink. I was extremely proud of my son. I wish I could be as thoughtful.

HC said...

This was a great post and good timing as well! A good way to show hospitality over the holidays is to check and see if any missionaries that your church supports are in town. Invite them over for the holiday meal or even just a game night, especially if they have children. What a nice way to celebrate the holidays, by spending time with their extended family!

Anonymous said...

Living in a college town, I realized that not all the students had enough time to go home for the Thanksgiving holiday. We opened our home up to those students who were far from home and missing that turkey dinner with their families. One year we had 28 students at our home for a Thanksgiving meal. What a blessing it was for all of us!

Kelly said...

One thing I have been thinking of doing is hosting a holiday tea party/cookie exchange where each gal brings her own teacup and a couple dozen cookies each and we just have a relaxing visit where people who haven't seen each other for awhile can catch up and also have an oasis in the midst of a busy time...
Another thing I would love to do too over the holidays is host a few knitting parties where friends who like to crochet and knit can make up some cute quick baby hats to donate to the local children's hospital.

Wesley said...

My favorite thing to do around the Holidays is fill shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child (Samaritan's Purse)...knowing that some child is going to have a box of goodies and the news of Jesus on Christmas day is so exciting. Ellen

Anonymous said...

Great ideas! Now that my children aren't so young, they have decided to only exchange 1 gift per family member (immediate family) and to sponsor a child for the year. It is such a blessing to have children that can see that they need nothing and want to give everything to someone they don't know.

Meg said...

My dad lives in a group home and has lost much of his memory and his mobility. For Thanksgiving my mother-in-law opens up her home and she, my kids and I make him a Thanksgiving from his childhood. The more he progresses the more he is wanting the old German food his grandma made. Last year we searched for months to find the recipe! (he asked for it in German and none of us speak German!) We wish the holidays could be like they used to but we do look forward to this new "new" and try to give Dad just one perfect day.

Glynnis Whitwer said...

Congratulation to "shutterhappyhope" for winning Karen Ehman's book. Email me at editor@proverbs31.org with your full name and address!

shutterhappyhope said...

Thank you so much, Glynnis and Karen, for generously giving away a copy of A Life that Says Welcome! I am so excited about winning a copy and look forward to not only reading it, but applying Karen's great ideas!