Calamity of the Hospitable Mute




the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.


What does hospitality mean to you?

I asked my husband that question and he said “it means to be friendly to people you have welcomed into your home.”

Do you think we’re hospitable? “Yes” He replied. 

Do we have people over enough? “No… (pause) but I don’t like having people over all of the time.”

But how can we practice hospitality if we never invite people into our home? Silence.

I’m the polar opposite of my husband…I like having people over. However, my excuse for not inviting friends over since moving into our cottage has been that 1) we are renovating and 2) it’s too small. But it has been three years this month since we moved! YIKES! Apparently having paint cans by the back door is reason enough for me not to reach out to a friend. (Now, Kittie! Shame is your name and avoiding people is your game!)

Growing up, hospitality looked like a pot of coffee and rocking chairs on the front porch. It didn’t involve a lot of time and money to make folks feel right at home… just a smile and a place to sit a spell. These days, most parents work 9-5 then hustle to drag kids from one event to another…kids aren’t playing in the neighborhood until dark because their schedules are too full! Now, hear my heart. I am NOT bashing after school activities; I encourage them… but what I discourage is having our schedules so maxed out that it leaves no room for creativity, downtime, and yes…hospitality. It also doesn’t leave time for mom and dad to spend time with their friends or one other on their front porch or at the kitchen table. They are too busy driving from one practice to another before hitting the drive-through on the way home… exhausted, depleted, and guilty because they’ve served take out to their kids three days this week. 

Sound familiar?

On the flip side, when we do make time to have friends over (if you’re anything like me) you feel like you need to have the house looking like a picture right out of Magnolia magazine, with nothing out of place and a non gmo, organic gourmet dinner with six different flavors of JoJo’s cupcakes served on an wooden platter made by orphans from a remote country you’ve never even heard of! All this served at a well dressed table with fresh linens, hip china, and fresh flowers from a trendy florist two towns away. 

Dude, I’m exhausted just typing that! Why am I trying so hard to impress them? Whatever happened to having a family come over and you served hamburger helper on paper plates with a glass of sweet tea? Is this gluten free? Is this paleo? I’m not eating carbs this month. I’m lactose intolerant. Geez (I am celiac, so I’m poking fun at myself here!) That is enough to make you never want to open up and invite anyone over. So, after ditching our dinner plans, we end up texting something like “OMG! I miss you! We have to get together soon!” But soon never happens. Friendship, real friendship, it dissolves and instead we spend our Saturdays liking their Instagram photos from our small living room as we drink coffee alone. In our PJs. Staring at our half painted walls.


How can we end this cycle of isolation that we’ve nurtured? We could step out and invite someone over for coffee but then there’s the whole rejection thing that stems from everyone being too busy to stop and invest in one another. Trust me, I get it, but I do long for the days when life was a lit slower and the days felt a little longer…when we made time to stop and ask “Hows ya mama n ‘dem” and really meant it.

Another component is our impressive lack of communication skills. I’ll be the first to admit that I am awful at small talk. I’m a GREAT listener, but that only works when I’m in the company of a talker. My cousin is a gifted talker…so is my oldest daughter. They can talk about anything to anyone and keep it going for about an hour before coming up for breath. AND I LOVE IT! I’m having a conversation without really saying anything. I just nod and smile. LOL. They walk away from our lil chit chat having said some things that they’ve been wanting to say and I walk away with having been their captivated audience. Now, if I invite a quiet person over, it isn’t very pretty. As a matter of fact, it’s downright ugly. Can you say “awkward silence?” Haha… bless our quiet little hearts! We walk away from our chat having said very little but hopefully we enjoyed the cup of coffee (as long as it caffeine free, fat free, sugar free, dairy free and cruelty free, right?)

I guess what I’m saying is that no matter the outcome, the effort exuded to extend the invitation is worth it because they’re worth it. You are worth it. I am worth it. So why not extend some hospitality to a neighbor or friend? Maybe someone who is new to town that your kid plays ball with seventeen hours a week? Maybe invite an empty-nester couple from church over for lunch after the service? Maybe plan to pack two salads and some sweet tea in mason jars for lunch and invite a coworker to join you?

By the way…I’m gluten intolerant, love coffee, and play well with talkers. 😉

If you are gifted with hospitality, or with the gift of gab…pour yourself a cup of coffee and drop me a line or two on what works best for you. I’d love to hear back from you!


Afraid of the Dark


And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known, I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16 


I was recently asked “Are you afraid of the dark?”

Well, let’s see… I want complete and absolute darkness at bedtime. I have a pretty keen sense of my surroundings, so I could make my way around my home with no problem. No, I’m not afraid of the dark. Not anymore.

She added, “I am. I’m afraid if I can’t see what’s right in front of me.”

I can understand where she’s coming from. At one point, I could completely relate to being scared of the dark. It may seem a bit odd, but an unknown fact about me is that I use to close my eyes and pretend to be blind, just to see if I could develop other senses to help me in the event that I would ever lose my eyesight. Weird, right? Well, does it help to know that I was a child? Does it help to know that that idea came to me after watching an episode of Little House on the Prairie? After watching the episode where Mary loses her vision, I genuinely wondered if I could take care of myself if I ever became blind. So, I would close my eyes and try to navigate my way around my home and my grandmother’s home. At first, I stumped my toe into every piece of furniture I encountered. I walked into walls, and even ended up in my grandmother’s closet when I was bound for the living room! However, over time I developed my senses and learned to pay attention to my steps and to sounds and patterns of light. I became aware of weak places in the floor that would creak when I walked across them. I practiced this for many years and I became rather good at it.

But darkness has another meaning, doesn’t it?

Spiritual darkness can be a place of perpetual fear and sadness, but it can also be a moment of hopelessness that you just can’t see past. I’ve been in both places. I’ve been momentarily struck down and lost my bearings and couldn’t see a thing; no solution in sight. I’ve have also had a period of perpetual darkness that lasted for years in which I felt no hope for a situation at all. Both places are SCARY!

But here’s the thing…

When I was standing or walking through a dark place, I had to make a choice. A choice to continue bumping into the obstacle, maybe pretending that it wasn’t real, OR I could focus in on the light instead of the darkness. You see, I would continue the game until I heard something that caught my attention. It was usually someone looking for me, calling my name because I had been quiet or unseen for too long. Isn’t it like that with God? We stand there, eyes closed to the truth, lips pursed in concentration, arms stretched out in front of us, trying to avoid bumping into something (or someone) and getting hurt… and we don’t think to open our eyes and ears to what God is trying to show us!

I do remember getting my brother in on the game a time or two. We would take turns closing our eyes, while one would navigate the other around obstacles… “ take seven steps forward and stop!” God is trying to help us navigate through the obstacles. He never, ever said there wouldn’t be obstacles. He did say, “I have told you these things, so that in me you will have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33)

It isn’t that we won’t face obstacles…and sometimes, we won’t be able to see what’s right in front of us, but we do have a light in the darkness. We have a voice in the darkness, leading us through it all and into the light!

All throughout scripture, light is used to symbolize God. Here are a few…

  • “The Lord is my LIGHT and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of who shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1


  • “Your word is a LAMP for my feet, a LIGHT on my path” Psalm 119:105


  • “The unfolding of your words gives LIGHT; it gives understanding to the simple.” Psalm 119:130


  • ”The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a LIGHT has dawned!” Matthew 4:16


  • “In the same way, let your LIGHT shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16


  • “The LIGHT shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5


  • “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said “I am the LIGHT of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but have the LIGHT of life.” John 8:12


  • “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: GOD IS LIGHT; in Him, there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5


And finally, my favorite verse…

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of HIm who called you out of darkness and into His marvelous LIGHT.” 1 Peter 2:9

In Revelation 21:23, John describes the glory of God as LIGHT and the Lamb is it’s LAMP. His glory is often referred to as Shekinah, meaning the glory of the divine presence, conventionally represented as light. I point this out because THAT LIGHT, THAT GLORY, we have been called into it! He is offering His light to us in every given situation. Nothing compares to it, we have access to it at any time, and it is freely given to us… His chosen people, His royal priesthood.

This is where my eyes opened.

That realization that He is exposing us to His light, which illuminates everything, absolutely changes everything! I don’t have to fear the dark. I don’t have to wander around with my eyes closed hoping for the best… and You don’t have to live like that anymore. Today, He is calling you out of the darkness and into HIS light.


Pray with me…

Father, some days are so hard. I don’t know how I arrived here, but I feel utterly lost. I need you. I need your light in my life. Open my eyes so that I may see your glory all around me. I don’t want to be scared or worried anymore. Fill me with your peace and love, Lord. Forgive me for reaching for other things to find my way. Show me how to walk in your light. I give this situation to you and I trust you with the outcome. I  no longer allow it to control my life. You are my light and my salvation! Jesus, be my lamp in the darkness. Show me the way back to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Please let me know if you prayed that prayer with me. You are being prayed for as I type these words. I’d love to hear from you!


Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

As I sit here thinking about the possibilities that a new year brings, I can’t help but wonder where my journey will take me… but to understand an ending, we must start from the beginning…
So, a little about myself. I am a native Georgian. My family has been in Bulloch County for more than eleven generations. My aunt was the first female entrepreneur in my hometown. She owned a hair salon on Main Street. Her brothers (one being my grandfather) owned a barber shop just down the street. I grew up counting every pear tree from my house to my grandmother’s house. My grandmother, Eva Leigh, was my light. I’ve often said that wherever Eva Leigh was, Kittie was close behind. I attribute my love for Jesus and home to her. She taught me how to pray. I can hear her now “Now I lay me down to sleep…” Now, I enjoyed the prayer until it came to the “…if I die before I wake..” part because once Eva Leigh turned over, all I could think about was “Lord, Jesus… don’t let her die tonight!” I would fall asleep praying and watching her breathe.
Fast forward to today. Many years have passed and she went to be with Jesus when my two oldest children were toddlers. She never met my Lucy… but she must’ve smiled on the day she was born because she knew my affinity for redheads (and she is a beautiful one!) And as much as Eva Leigh knew me and I knew her, I never truly understood her heart until I became a grandmother…
Something laid dormant in my chest. It was the same condition that Eva Leigh had so many years ago. Although she had been called home to be with Jesus nearly two decades prior, the effects of her condition made a huge impact on my life. I had no idea how much until that cold November morning. That’s when it happened… I was overwhelmed. I was overwhelmed not only by what I was experiencing in that moment, but also what Eva Leigh must’ve experienced and how much it impacted this moment. But it was happening…unprepared, I stepped into the room and I saw him… my grandson. In that moment, everything came full circle. I thought that had already happened when I had my children, but not like this. In that moment, I felt the love I had for Eli and simultaneously felt the depth of love my grandmother had for me. I prayed “God, even if she only loved me half as much as what I’m feeling in love for him, I was MUCH LOVED!” Tears filled my eyes. I touched his hand and he grasped my finger. That’s all it took. I’m in love.
One friend described it as “your heart waking up” and I remembered her words right then because that described perfectly what I was feeling. Who knew this kind of love existed? I didn’t but God knew. He knew all along. He also knew that my love for him would grow even more (hardly fathomable, I know) over this past year.
He calls me “LaLa.”
He loves food…and cars…and he loves me.
And one day, I’ll tell him all about Eva Leigh and teach him the little prayer she taught me… and when I’m taken up to glory, I hope that the love we share will sustain him…. just like the love Eva Leigh shared has sustained me until she introduces me to Jesus (for the second time.)

Sunday Dinner

“My sheep listen to my voice, I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27
I sit here on this cold January morning, warming up with a cup of coffee. I sit in silence but so much is going through my mind right now.
I look over at the empty dining room table and I can so easily recall the conversations that were held there last night. We had a large group of people here in my little cottage gathered around the table, so many that my husband and I ate at the kitchen island to give them all room to sit together. Our guests somehow began talking about their faith. One guest spoke about her faith like this… “well, it’s just what I was brought up to do.”
My ears perked up as I heard my children talk about their belief in Christ being authentic because their father and I allowed them the room to explore their relationship with God without feeling like it was expected of them to carry on our beliefs “just because”. We were very involved in church and we raised them in a Christian home . We both felt strongly that cultivating an environment to accept Christ was important but it wouldn’t be enough to produce authentic faith. That was between each of our children and Jesus. We hoped and prayed that they would accept Him, but never forcing them to believe because we wanted their relationship with Him to be REAL for them. I didn’t want them to adopt my faith and look at life through MY Jesus colored glasses -NO!- I wanted them to ask questions…explore truth…and decide if they believed for themselves. That was the only way they could apply His wisdom to their life. It would be the only way to salvation. My faith and my salvation wasn’t enough for anyone besides myself. Jesus is real, REAL to me and I cannot separate myself from Him in any circumstance but that’s because He’s as real to me as anything else I see around me. When I get up in the morning, I know my hair will be brown. I know I have hazel eyes, that I have ten fingers and ten toes. I trust that when I pull back the covers on my bed and slide my legs out from underneath that the floor will be there to step onto… I don’t give much thought to it. I also don’t give much thought to whether or not Jesus is there. I KNOW that He is! Now, when my children look in the mirror, they don’t see my face or my brown hair… they know their own hands and step out onto the floor with their own two feet. They do not think my thoughts and when they speak, they do not hear my voice. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when they say “Mama said…” and reflect on their upbringing, but when it comes to eternity… my faith, my words, my quirks…none of that matters. What matters is their personal relationship with God and what He means to each of them.
Last night, when I heard them each express their faith in Him, each one had a different answer. I thought “Isn’t it just like Jesus to meet each of them where they are and speak tenderly to their hearts?” After all, He knows their heart even more intimately than I do…which is exactly why it was so important for me to give them back to Him. Now, as they face trials- and there will be trials- they won’t repeat my mistakes…they won’t wonder helplessly what to do or where to turn…they will hear HIS voice.

Gluten Free Banana Muffins

As most of you know, I have a gluten allergy. Before this news, I spent many years in the kitchen perfecting meals for my family. All of my recipes had to change when I discovered my food allergy. I was a little disheartened, thinking I would never again savor the taste of my favorite meals, but I was determined to create recipes that were just as tasty as the gluten-laden, southern dishes I grew up on. This has been my go-to muffin recipe, perfected over time. It can stand against any banana muffin recipe out there!
4 overly ripened, mashed bananas
2 cups GF bisquick mix
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick (1/2 c) melted butter
3 large eggs
1/2 c milk
1-2 tsp pure vanilla
chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line tin with muffin liners.
In a microwavable dish, melt butter.
In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, except for the sugar.
Add the sugar to the melted butter, then add mashed bananas to the butter mixture. Stir well. Add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
Add the eggs in, one at a time. Slowly pour in the milk. If the mixture is too thick, add 1-2 tbsp of milk at a time to obtain desired consistency.
Stir in vanilla.
The mixture is ready to be added to the muffin tin. Scoop desired amount into the liners. Top each muffin with chopped pecans, if desired. Bake for 16-19 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool before serving. Makes about 16 muffins.

A New Day

I woke up to the sound of rain on our metal roof this morning… calming and constant, generating a feeling of renewal and cleansing. The calm leads me to thinking about my Creator and how He orchestrates each raindrop. I think about the thirsty earth as soaks up each precious drop and how He replenishes the earth’s bodies of water and washes away the kicked up, misplaced dust. As I lay there staring at the dawn –all warm in my bed– the soft rain filters the light of the sunrise as it trickles through my window onto my white duvet. The dawn signifies a new beginning.
Sometimes, exactly what we need is a new beginning…
Last year, I could only see a storm that persisted through the night, into the next day, the next week, and ultimately lasting the next several months. My projected path was as dry as a desert…no water in sight and no respite. Instead of sunlight and a gentle washing of rain, I accumulated so much stale dust and misplaced dirt! How’d I get there? That question led me to ask even more difficult questions, like “am I brave enough to do the things that will bring about change, REAL change?” Up to that point, I asked the wrong questions, like”why are THEY…. don’t THEY realize…. why can’t THEY.” I was becoming a victim of circumstance before pausing to take a deeper look at myself, (which did not reflect— Him.) Puzzled at what direction to go in, storm clouds behind me, to the side of me, and an unknown path before me, I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I imagined Jesus sitting across from me, patiently listening with a soft smile on His face (like He knows something, and I’ve forgotten that I know it, too! ) Waiting for me to stop talking and just listen, He stays right there with me, knowing it was so common for me to get caught up in life, focused only on the things of this world. Before I knew it, I realized that weariness had taken hold. I became tired of the struggle. I became discouraged and hardened…. and as much as I hated to admit it, I was losing hope….and you’d better believe that the enemy was trying his best to distract me and keep me there. In the eye of the storm, I was debilitated, paralyzed, and choking on the dry taste of regret. The enemy was ready for me to pass through the oncoming wall of the storm…exposed and unequipped to handle the strongest winds… leading me into darkness and then declaring loudly, “there is no hope for you, for this.”
But, hold on. I don’t believe that…
God is so good to remind us that we can weather the storm. We read in Lamentations that there is a dismal backdrop of sorrow and sadness. There was a hopelessness there that acknowledged the reality of pain, grief, and tragedy. But something else arose out of the ashes of affliction… HOPE!
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:22–24)
Long, loooong ago when I was in high school, I was fortunate enough to be in the SHS concert choir, led by the talented Dianne Crestopoulos. In my freshman year, she directed us in singing “You are the New Day.” We loved this song, but not nearly as much as she did. She would close her eyes as her hands softly flowed to and fro, orchestrating our voices. I’m sure we sounded nothing like the King’s Singers, but we were hers. Her patience and love of music and for us (yes, she was THAT kind of teacher) helped us to love and appreciate that song and each other. Before we knew it, our eyes were closed, too. Soon, no sheet music was needed…We felt the song. Harmony filled the room. In that instance, no matter what was happening outside of those four walls, we were one voice…. all under her direction.
I can’t help but believe that the body of Christ should flow in that same harmonic flow under the direction of the Holy Spirit… and I know that the first note of that song requires that I open my mouth and utter the words “You are the new day, Jesus.” It starts with me recognizing that His mercies are new every morning! In Him, lies my HOPE!
If I can remember to pause and position myself from the perspective of my salvation, and not from this world, then my perception changes…suddenly, each day is a new day in Christ Jesus. He is the author of my song and the Holy Spirit, it’s conductor… if I only close my eyes, embrace His presence, and open my mouth to sing of His mercies, then the path becomes illuminated by His truth.
1 John 1:5 reads, “…God is light; in Him there is no darkness.” Whatever storm we face, He is the light that guides our steps and the song that resides in our hearts if only we listen to His voice.
So, I challenge you to lay down your troubles, close your eyes, and embrace HIS presence on this NEW DAY! Lift Him up and He’ll lift you out of the stale dirt and brush the dust right off of your weary soul! Amen?!?
Here are the lyrics to the song and a link to listen (click on song title.) I hope you enjoy it as much as I still do.
I will love you more than me and more than yesterday If you can but prove to me you are the new day
Send the sun in time for dawn Let the birds all hail the morning Love of life will urge me say you are the new day
When I lay me down at night knowing we must pay Thoughts occur that this night might stay yesterday
Thoughts that we as humans small could slow worlds and end it all lie around me where they fall before the new day
One more day when time is running out for everyone Like a breath I knew would come I reach for the new day
Hope is my philosophy Just needs days in which to be
Love of life means hope for me born on a new day
You are the new day
*Song Rights Reserved By John David. Arranged by Peter Knight.

Two Minute Devotional: A Furious Squall

I have always said that I’d never live in a storm-prone area like Tornado Alley. Can you imagine the devastation that those folks encounter? Having to start over and even losing their loved ones? I say I’d never live there, but am I allowing a storm to brew inside of me?
I was thinking about this and I remembered a favorite song lyric that goes something like “He calms the storm in me.” I tear up every time I hear it because that is exactly what He has done in me, so many times. Past hurts and failures can often determine how we respond to others. When you’ve been conditioned to trust no one, those storms can pop up at any time. So much damage….So much lost.
Mark 4:35-41 (NIV)
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Lord, thank you for quieting the storm within me. Please forgive me when my faithlessness allowed the storm to rage within me. Time and time again, you have replaced chaos and fear with your indescribable peace. You’ve calmed my spirit when I could not see past the clouds around me. Thank you for you staying with me throughout the storms of life, Lord. Increase my faith and show me how to weather the storm and command the winds around me to be still. In Jesus’ name, Amen.