Join me today with my guest and special friend, Susan Heid, who authors The Confident Mom site. I’m going to send you right over there, because her “place” is packed with encouragement, insights, and nuggets of inspiration that will HELP YOU OUT as a Mom! She even has an Ebook available (info below). Thank you, Susan! I appreciate what you are sharing here today at RE …

Our busy lives sometimes feel like they are spinning out of control. We have so many places to be and things to cross off our “to-do” list we tend to lose track of the little things we can do to add meaning to our lives and make our family feel appreciated.

One of the primary duties we are called to as mothers and wives is to create an atmosphere and environment in our home where our family can be refreshed, re-energized and renewed – a sanctuary.

Our family is bombarded with negative influence, harsh words and unrealistic expectations outside the walls of our home. Most everyone comes home after doing something that has consumed the best energy of his or her day. Everyone is tired, but dinner must be prepared, homework completed, and chores accomplished.

How can you create the sanctuary your family so desires and needs? Using hospitality at home – treating your family “as good as guests”.

Have you found yourself saying:

“Ah, that is good enough.” “That’ll do, it’s only family.” “No one will notice.”

It is easy to do as we try to cut corners to save time. Often we treat our guests better than we treat our family. I know I find myself falling into old, bad habits when I am stressed and feeling pressure. My tone of voice, my body language, how I complete a task, my attitude are all areas I have to constantly be aware of. Moms are the barometer in the house, if you are in a good mood and it shows, generally everyone else feeds off the energy and falls in behind you!

Establishing the habit of treating our family as we would a guest helps communicate our love to our family in a tangible way. Extending hospitality to our family allows them to reap the same blessings our guest receive in our home. In addition, we are modeling for our children – they learn from our example and learn how to genuinely treat others.

Here are some tangible ways to show hospitality to your family.

Prepare their favorite foods – Use food to honor a family member for a special occasion – or even with no “occasion” at all. Ask each family member their favorite recipe that you make and write it down. In addition, you can use a special plate that is inscribed with “You Are Special” to honor and surprise family members – it makes meals rather fun. Don’t wait for big celebrations; pick little things to celebrate – a toddler’s success at learning a new skill, a good grade on a test, or someone’s good attitude with helping another.

Create a warm atmosphere – We always try to create a peaceful environment for our guests, we can do the same for our family. Simple things like turning on music and lighting candles will create a restful ambiance for our family to enjoy.

Set the table – It is easy to get in the habit of eating buffet style especially if you have an ‘on the go’ family. Instead set the table. Use cloth napkins, which can be picked up rather cheap at the dollar store or I recently got a great set of 24 on eBay really inexpensive. Use different place-mats or a tablecloth, have some fresh cut flowers or simple centerpiece.

Remember, you do not have to do it all – involved your children in the process. Your child can create place-mats for each family member using construction paper, crayons and stickers then take them down to an office supply store and have them laminated so you can use them multiple times. Send your child outside to gather flowers or greenery from the yard and let them make a centerpiece. Remember, it is not about perfection, it is about teaching and honoring.

Create conversation – Encourage conversation at the dinner table or while sitting around preparing dinner. Our family enjoys sitting at the table long after the last person has finished eating. A favorite tool to help to guide conversation and get things started for us is Family Table Topics, a set of question cards that kick off the conversation. We definitely have learned a lot about each other we would have otherwise missed if we had not had this activity!

Create special events or traditions – You can make any day or meal a special occasion simply by investing some time planning ahead. There is no need to be elaborate – you may even do some of these things already: pizza/game night, ethnic food night (decorate in theme when possible) eat outside by candlelight on your patio, pack a picnic to take to the park for an outdoor concert or have a picnic at home in your living room. The possibilities are endless and the memories you make along the way are priceless!

Bless others unexpectedly – Find ways to surprise family members. Who doesn’t enjoy surprises? Write a note to place in your child’s lunch, or drop a note in your husband’s wallet. Instead of just making the coffee in the morning – serve the coffee – bring a cup to your spouse fixed just how they like it. Create a fun after-school snack for our children and sit down with them to share it together.

Keep an orderly home – Managing our home effectively is hospitality to our family; it communicates our love in a tangible manner. Our family benefits from our management on a daily basis, just as guests enjoy our efforts when they visit. When the house is in order, the stress level is down for everyone, which results in a place where family members can be refreshed, re-energized and renewed.

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Colossian 3:23-24 NASB

What can you do today to show hospitality to your family?

Susan enthusiastically wears the hat of mom, step-mom and foster mom to 4 awesome kids – ages 18, 14, 10 and 14 months; is married to her very own prince charming, loves coffee, cloudy days, and does think the bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle. You can find her at her other day job, The Confident Mom, and get a copy of her FREE ebook, “Getting Kids to Cooperate and Become Team Players.”

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