How to be Bravely Hospitable in an Imperfect World

I recently said that Jesus was the most hospitable person who ever lived. One of the ways I seek to be more like him is through hospitality. You can find that thread in my bucket lists, in my calendar of events and as a place in my heart.

Living out hospitality means opening my home to the teenagers, my sisterhood community, my beloved family and the couples we are lucky enough to have as loyal friends.

Hospitality is also a state of the heart. We can grow a friendly and welcoming heart that opens the door to engaging beyond the shallow. Write cards. Send texts. Schedule coffees and breakfasts. Give invitations. Show up in your own little ways as often as you can.

Hospitality has a practical side. I have a system within my home and in my calendar to create space for hospitality. At the end of this blog, I have included a few tips and lists to make hospitality from the heart and home within reach.

Humble Hospitality

In the meantime, I am about to tell you how I stay extremely humble with my hospitality. Let me rephrase. The forces of the imperfect life keep me extremely humble and I just go along with it. I am sharing with you in hopes that my imperfection will store up some joy in your heart. From that joy, I truly hope you’ll put yourself in the path of hospitality.

House Parties

I love celebrating. I recently had a house party for my husband’s birthday. I do what I can to have a seemingly spotless house. At the end of the day, there are always a few gaping holes in my plan. At this party, I didn’t have time and/or overlooked the teenager bathroom which doubles as the guest bathroom. Whatever you think a teenage bathroom looks like, that’s what the bathroom looked like. There was also the red spaghetti sauce stain on the kitchen backsplash and the sink disposal that broke during the party. Whatever. Imperfect hospitality.

Back yard garden get togethers

My Pre-Rehabbed Home

I was scheduled to teach a Follow Your Call class at a friend’s house. One of the ladies turned out to have severe cat allergies. The last five weeks of the class shifted to my house. We had just moved in and the rehab was not close to done. At that time, the entire back wall of the house was sliding glass doors from the sixties with peeled off decals. The stains looked like grime that any good housekeeper should have been able to scrub off, but could not actually be scrubbed off. Add broken vertical blinds that allowed sunlight to blast down on the women who sat on the couch. This gives new meaning to hot flashes. Whatever. Gorgeous imperfect hospitality.

Moving in day. That is exactly what the glass looked like until we replaced it all!

My Disturbed Dog

I have an emotionally disturbed dog who bites anyone who touches (yes, physically touches) my husband. He barks like a madman locked up in his crate during the entire “hospitable” event. To polish the night off, he runs after you like a midnight game of man hunt when you try to leave through the front door. Whatever. Imperfect hospitality.

Hunter, our dog

My Discipleship Failure

While I raised my kids, I followed in my mom’s footsteps and reached out to the homeless community. Like the good disciple of Jesus I aim to be, I bought a lot of fast food and groceries and sent my oldest in the streets to deliver along with an uplifting word. Because he is a pleaser, he did exactly as I asked. So you wonder, how did that go? Is he a leader in a homeless ministry? No, he is a young adult who flinches at the sight of a raggedy dressed person approaching him or his car. He rolls up the windows or accelerates like his life depends on it. Whatever. I tried. Hospitality failure.

Generally, To My Shock & Disbelief

I have a friend who witnesses the weirdest things when we are together. For starters, I invited her to come in my house  – – for the first time – – when we were doing some kitchen project in our old townhouse. The pile of stuff in the dining room was outrageous. I have no reasonable explanation why I let a new friend inside. My husband was mortified.

The second time she came over, an oversized, disgusting Florida roach crawled out of a kitchen cabinet into plain view. When I visited her house, I fell into a pile of actual garbage in her back yard.

Another time, as I was trying to be my authentic self, I somehow shoved a shoestring French fry with ketchup straight up my nostril. That burned like hell.

All that I can say is that, for the last decade, God has used my life to show her (and me) that hospitality and authenticity live in the same space as imperfection at its height.

What can I tell you? I still aim to be friendly and welcoming in my heart and in my home.

Ridiculous Attempts at Scoring a Ten

Last story. In 2021, I aimed to have one monthly sisterhood event at my home. We lunched and usually watched a break out session from a prior IF:Gathering and then discussed. It was my goal for no woman to lift a finger. So lame of me to create such a burden of hospitality upon myself. Anyway, at the end of one of the events, an outspoken sister said, “you know, you really look like $%*#. You should get some rest.”

Here is the conclusion: Be hospitable. Be real. Open your home. Open your heart. Make it easy. Make a mess (of yourself). Do it often.

Love always,


In the Home Hospitality

  • Over time, acquire catering style white dinner plates and app plates. Store them in a handy spot to pull out for a crowd. Put them back in the exact same spot for the next time you need them.
  • Do the same with 24 stemless wine glasses. Make sure everything can go in the dishwasher.
  • Look out for cotton dinner napkins and place mats on sale. Keep them folded in a cabinet so you can set a fun, colorful table anytime you want.
  • Whenever you can, fill vases with flowers from your yard or from the store. I also love handmade paper flowers that I often use instead of fresh.
  • Keep on hand bulk stuff from your favorite store. Things like marinated artichokes, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate and olives. I freeze my favorite breads. If you can pull it out and put it on the counter, you are now quickly hospitable.
  • Invite people over for dinner. Have a potluck. Make friends with the prepared food section at your fav store if that works for you. We have a massive picnic table in our back yard. We put up lights, play music and have an evening in the “garden”. We don’t live in a mansion or on the water. We don’t even have a pool. We don’t care. We have fun.

In the Heart Hospitality

  • Call friends and acquaintances on the phone from time to time. I always start with, I’m one of those people who likes to talk on the phone. I can hang up and text you if you want. You choose.
  • Pick different people to get to know over a season and have coffee with them once a month. See how God uses you and how God grows the friendship.
  • Step it up and start something. Start a group text. Start a creative, monthly meet up at a local tea shop. Start a Marjane game like my friend Dana. Lead a work out like my friends Lynn and Debbie. Host an IF:Table. Invite friends to your second home for a getaway like my friend Astrid. Read a book outloud with a friend like I am with Sara.
  • Pray out loud next time you have the opportunity. Say the truth. Laugh as you speak. Ask for what you really need. Welcome others do to the same.
  • Think about the little things you are good at or want to be good at. Give that imperfect gift to others. Invite others to give with you. Don’t think too much about the imperfection. God knows. He’s got your vulnerable back.

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How to Empower Your Everyday with a Seasonal Bucket List

Today is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:18

Isn’t that the truth?

Isn’t it also true that most days are made of small movements and small actions that may or may not feel worthy of rejoicing?

Both are true.

Since both are true, I have a tried and true practice to share with you. My bucket lists get to the heart of everyday joy and gladness – – even when you have no great reason to rejoice or be glad.

Bucket Lists!

With bucket lists, we can intentionally choose to lean into Psalm 118 and build into our lives authentic happiness. We can light up the mundane, spark hope from burdens and shine rays of light into any day, week or month – – with the simple practice of creating and living out bucket lists.

I create bucket lists based on the small things I may overlook or not include in my daily planner or in life in general. My four buckets are love, self care, creativity and hospitality. Here are my reasons why.


I chose love because I never want to lose sight of loving others. Most of the time, expressing love to someone else takes the focus off yourself and expands your perspective. Whatever may be taking center stage in your own life can take a step back while you direct care to someone else.

Self Care

In the same way I don’t want to lose sight of loving others, I don’t want to neglect myself either. I have been down that awful road of neglect and desire to forget not the value of a strong mind and body. Self care is an essential element to my bucket lists.


I have a taxing career. Law lends itself to deadlines and conflicts and has little mercy for human error. Moreover, work does a good job of yelling louder than the other areas of life. For that reason, I must make space for creativity. My joy comes from creating, sharing and filling needs in creative ways. My creative outlets allow positive energy to flow into my career and the rest of my life. Hence, including creativity as an element of my bucket list keeps me moving toward a balanced life.


Last, I believe deeply that Jesus was the most hospitable person who ever lived. He welcomed others from the heart. As follows, wherever he was, he gave invitations. To dinner. To fish. To spend time talking. To follow dreams. To encourage. To see. To walk. To preach. To make disciples. Heartful hospitality is one of the ways I seek to mirror Jesus. I use bucket lists to help me pursue that end.

How To Create a Powerful Bucket List

When I begin to write a bucket list, I start with the four buckets of love, self care, creativity and hospitality and intertwine them with the season of the year. I search for inspiration on Pinterest, in the books that I read and in the conversations I have. I sit with a journal and colorful pen. I scribble, cross out and write some more until I have a working list. I usually have 4-5 items within each bucket. At that point, I organize the items so that the list is cohesive and distributed evenly among the buckets.

From there, I share with two or three friends to see what they think. After the feedback, I make a few changes and head to Canva to create a design.

Build Your Life with Bucket Lists

The truth is that not every day may lend itself to rejoicing and gladness. Despite that, we can lean into Psalm 118 and build happiness into our lives.

Today is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:18

As a practice, I clip my bucket list into my daily planner. I glance at the list from time to time and check off, with joy, the little things that I have done to make life sweet in every season.

Now that it’s the end of January, I’m sharing my bucket list progress update. More pics to come as I work through my New Year Bucket List.

Intentional joy matters. I would love to hear how you are pursuing joy in your own life. Share in the comments below or email me at

If you missed the New Year Bucket List, here it is again.



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Fall Discovery: How to be Intentional

There are thousands of ways to live intentionally. In fact, this is one of the widest action words I know. Intention can be applied to literally every area of our lives. Work, relationships, faith, parenting, friendships, fitness, mental well-being, hobbies/interests . . .When the options are so vast, intention can get lost in the opportunities.

Simply put, intentionality is taking specific actions toward an outcome that is important to you.

Intention can get lost in the action and execution when we don’t first determine what is important to us. We can adopt someone else’s list of intentional acts because they appeal to us. But if the purpose isn’t in line with our own purpose, intentional living ends up fizzling out or burning us out.

Why I Started Creating Bucket Lists

I started making bucket lists about two years ago. Previous to that, I had shifted from writing to women’s networking for a time. When it was time to shift back to writing, I lacked inspiration and my personal why. Creating bucket lists were a simple way to find what was important to me again.

My first bucket list was for Valentine’s Day. The list focused on loving others, self care, creativity and hospitality. You can look at that first bucket list and all of the others by clicking here.

Four Pillars

As I continued to create bucket lists for Spring, Summer, Fall, Christmas and the New Year, my why became clearer and clearer. My four personal pillars represent what is important to me.

  • Loving others is a biblical call and brings me joy.
  • Self care is an area I have neglected most of my adult life. However, I can confidently say no more after a lot of growth in the last few years.
  • Input and output in the way of creativity is what keeps my soul alive. I find that I am more fully myself and happy when I am honoring creativity in my life.
  • I think I could write a book on hospitality. In this brief bullet, I will share that my home with its furniture, accessories and food represents a valuable way to invite others into peace, comfort and enjoyment.

The List Must Bolster Wholeness, Not Productivity

My understanding of intentionality also grew as I wrote and lived out bucket lists. I learned that if, even for one minute, the list felt like a burden, then the list was no longer serving its purpose. If the list sneakily transitioned to a measure of productivity, then it was time to stop. Or, if the list negatively impacted my worth, then the list lost its worth. Make sense?

Bucket List Mantra

As I continued to create bucket lists, this became my mantra:

My bucket lists are about bearing fruit. They are intentional guides to help you live out love, self care, creativity and hospitality in every season.

Fall Bucket List Progress

This week on IG, I shared my Fall bucket list journey thus far. I’m sharing the pics here with more detail. Enjoy. Be inspired. Be intentional. Be bold with your love. Down below you will find a few questions to help you write your own seasonal bucket list.

Three of us pooled resources for this fall bundle of goodness. I dropped it off, sent a text that something was outside and hopped back in the car. We picked this friend because she is a giver and tends to isolate when she is in need of comfort, sisterhood and understanding. This was our way of delivering that to her while honoring her desire to seek solace within her home.

Dustyn is my monthly coffee date for the rest of the year. She doesn’t know that it’s life giving to me to serve her as she lives out a part of her story I see in myself. What a blessing to exercise vulnerability, laughter and sisterhood.

I love my green pumpkin. I also have a yellow and orange striped cutie with a green ribbon tied around the stem. I have been known to go overboard with my pumpkin purchases, but I am quite happy with these two this year.

We have fall scented candles in every room. Many of them are lit right now. The last three people who walked through the front door said, what smells so good? Bull’s eye!

If you flipped over this card, you would see that I have written three Christmas miracles I am praying for. I hope to write a few more. Some are big and some are small, but all mean something to me.


  1. Name four things that are important to you. You could include categories like I did or individual people, a specific hobby, something work related. Enjoy writing a few important things.
  2. Once you have a few important things, think about your season of life. You could choose the actual season as I did. Or you could note your life season such as empty nester, busy time at work, hurting in need of healing, overflowing season . . .
  3. Write down the season you chose in number two on the top of a sheet of paper. Below it, write the four things that are important to you.
  4. Now you are ready to write your bucket list. Be inspired by things that are important to you in the season of life you are in. Give yourself a time frame to live out your bucket list items.



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