My family came this weekend for Tessa's graduation.  It was a BIG deal, not just because Tessa was graduating, but because for some it was the first time visiting our home, and for the rest it was the first time in a long time.

What made it even a bigger deal for me is that in order to host such an event meant that I had to work outside of my giftedness.   My brother and sister come by hospitality naturally.  I do not.  I have learned and developed my skills over the years; but I still do a fair amount of worrying--admittedly, a lot less than I used to.  

That is probably because I purposed early on to work though my insecurities and lack of confidence because the payoffs of being hospitable are huge in the memory department.  And I am all about taking the risk and making the memory as our tagline says.

I am happy to say that this weekend went so well because the weather cooperated, my brother took charge of the kitchen, and my village showed up in a big way to help make each and every moment perfect--really, I mean PERFECT!

One of my favorite memories of this weekend was of the family dinner we had in the driveway after the actual graduation.  

Chef mike grilling the romaine

hayden serving pap

emmalyn enjoying the spaghetti

outdoor dining in the city

In the past, I may not have considered an outdoor garden party in the middle of the city as ideal.  But it worked.  It worked because we all ate at the same table.  We all told stories and laughed and were enamored with the little ones.  And there were roses.  We even had a few moments of stress.  We are family.  We are normal.  


It was not planned, but I ended up being my Uncle Mike's (the chef) assistant, and I love the cool stuff he taught me. And I also gained a new appreciation for what those in the kitchen industry do daily.  I never worked so hard, and I was just the assistant.  

We also grocery shopped together. Grocery shopping with a chef is truly an adventure.  I am happy to say that I now know where to find anchovy paste should I ever choose to use that--which is not likely.  I learned about different specialty cheeses as well.  

Steaks, spaghetti, grilled caesar salad, fruit salad, mac and cheese, broccoli, coleslaw, cupcakes (dumb bag wouldn't open), spaghetti salad, homemade croutons (which may have been my favorite item made) and bbq pork.  Can we just say that my kitchen never worked so hard either. 

Let's face it:  Practicing hospitality is hard work.  

But it is so worth it.

crouton making

I will never forget the time I spent assisting my Uncle Mike, and I will never cook the same way again.  

And I plan on living on homemade croutons and cupcakes all summer. 


A great memory I have of this weekend stemming from hospitality--and there are many--is that our friend, Amber, came to my graduation ceremony.  At face value it does not sound like it is hospitality-related.  

A few months ago, Amber moved into our backyard apartment for just three weeks while she did a rotation with a local doctor for her PA schooling.  In those three weeks, Amber truly became part of our family.  She was so friendly.  We were so friendly.  We practiced hospitality.  That's all it took.  We had a new family member.

She is hilarious and talented, and everything she says and does is Spirit-filled/guided, and I've been so blessed by her friendship.  She is also a graduate of the college I will be attending in the fall, Lee University.

If there was any doubt on whether she was truly part of the family, the proof lies in the fact that we insisted that she be in the family picture after graduation.  Trust me, this girl is amazing. You can read more about her here.

Below is a picture of our current tenant, Jim.  I know, what a picture.  He's renting the carriage house apartment for three months while he does a rotation at a local chiropractor's office.  You may also have noticed him in the family dinner photo in my mom's post above.   He, too, may be well on his way to reaching family status!

I recently guest posted about hospitality at my Uncle Mike's house over on Megan's blog