Celebrating James Walker

celebrating James Walker

As soon as we found out we were having our third baby, my dear friend Megan started talking to me about throwing a party to celebrate. I didn’t want to do a baby shower because we have plenty of baby stuff and clothes and just don’t need a thing. Over the years I’ve been careful not to get rid of anything because I just kind of knew we’d have another baby.

But I did want to have a fun night with my friends! So Megan, Andrea, and Ainsley hosted a sweet dinner and time of prayer for James Walker and me. We had a delicious meal and laughed and laughed and then they prayed over me.

It was so special and so humbling and just meant the absolute world to me.

I looked around the room that night. Most of the girls knew each other in some way. But I started thinking about how I’d met them all. Through preschool or our newlywed Sunday school class or through the choir at church. Or I’d kept their children at church or we volunteered together in some way. But God brought them all into my life each for a specific purpose and they’ve each loved me, loved my children, loved Todd and me as a couple. They’ve kept my kids when I’ve been in a jam. They’ve prayed for my mom. We’ve had girls nights and fun dinners and tears and celebrations.

And it was just one of those big life moments. The kind where you look around the room and are so overwhelmingly grateful for the opportunity to have such special people all in a room together at the same time.

When I moved to Columbia eleven years ago, I never imagined I’d meet my husband and fall in love and get married and stay here. And I never imagined that, through our church, we’d meet so many precious friends who would support us through so many life events.

We all need community. And I’ve been incredibly blessed to find such a sweet, open, welcoming community of women. Women who are always looking for more friends and new friends and people to invite. Because we all want to be known and loved, and finding those people who are always so willing to listen and invite has made my life so full.

It’s hard. It doesn’t come quickly for everyone and it doesn’t come easily for everyone. I’m an introvert and it doesn’t come easily for me. But it has been so worth it. Friday night was incredibly special, and I know that this sweet “village” of women is going to be there to love on our family as we adjust to our new normal as a family of five.

31 Days of Breaking Bread: Halloween & Hospitality


We’re wrapping up our 31 day challenge, and I didn’t come close to posting every single day, but I have so loved this topic. With Halloween coming up on Friday, I’m already thinking about the opportunities for connection and community. I know that for many of us, community is the biggest barrier to being an inviter and opening up our hearts and homes.

How do these wonderful, magical communities seem to fall into people’s laps? Who am I supposed to invite?

I’ve been there, and it took a lot of work and intentionality to get that sense of community. It took inviting and inviting and inviting when it feels repetitive and like it might even be a little annoying. But it’s worth it.

We’ve been in our neighborhood now for almost a year, and we’ve tried to be “front yard people.” We spend a lot of time playing in our driveway and riding bikes in front of our house. Because of this, we’ve had great opportunities to meet our neighbors and continue those conversations from one day to the next. Even Boudreaux has welcomed himself into a neighbor’s home. (But that’s a story for a different day! Crazy dog!)

Our neighborhood is having a little cul de sac party before trick-or-treating begins on Friday night. I’m excited to get to know some of our neighbors that we haven’t gotten to know yet. I’m looking forward to learning their kids’ names. It’s such a great opportunity to make connections and then invite people over for chili and cornbread the following weekend. Why not?

I’m going to be thinking of some easy, intentional things that I can do and ways that I can invite, and just invite. That initial invitation can be the biggest hangup and barrier to community, but I can assure you that people want to come!

The first time one of our neighbors invited us over for dinner, I was truly surprised and also so touched. It was so special to us that they said they wanted to get to know us.

When your neighbors stop by and trick-or-treat, memorize their names. Learn something new about them. And maybe even extend an invitation for them to pop by for supper one night. You never know what could come of it!

This post is part of 31 Days of Breaking Bread

31 Days of Breaking Bread

the truth about hospitality

When I sit down and think about my passions, one of the things that pops up at the top of the list is hospitality. I am passionate about home. Not my home. But home, in general. I’m passionate about serving and creating and loving.

I even got my masters degree in hospitality management. It’s true.

I love cooking. I love hosting. I love the sound of people in my home as they laugh and share stories and connect.

More than hospitality, though, I am passionate about community. It’s why I invite people into our home. It’s why I share my stories here and open myself up. Because I want you all to do the same thing. I want you to find that community and share those stories and connect.

But here’s the truth about my journey with hospitality.

When we lived in our old bungalow, I was too hung up on the cramped layout of our home and our home’s imperfections and our home’s smallness to invite. I made excuses and said that the kitchen was too small and was too far from the family room. In five years, we only hosted people four or five times.

It took not having the opportunity to show hospitality that gave me the courage and the full-on passion to invite and open the doors. For 13 months, I missed the freedom to host. I wanted so badly to invite friends over to play or for dinner. And it was in those long months that I realized the truth about hospitality.

It’s not about having the perfect home or the big kitchen or the best layout for entertaining. It’s about those relationships and community. It’s about opening my heart and getting real with people, and giving them a place to get real, too.

I love beautiful things and we did spend a year building our house. I’m sure it seems easy for me to say, now, that hospitality is easy. But it’s not easy because of this house. It’s easy because I love our friends. I love sitting next to a friend on the couch with our feet on the furniture and sipping coffee and sharing insecurities and triumphs.

I would invite you all over to do that very thing today if I could!

In the next few weeks, I hope to share pieces of our home with you. In my eyes, it’s not perfect and it’s not finished. But it’s not about perfection or completion. We live here and we host friends here and this home is a place for us to love each other and open the doors for friends and family.

My dogs have scratched the floor. They shed. My boys drive their toy cars on the walls and there are already little marks there. We’ve splattered red sauce on the counter tops. We live here fully and want others to feel like they can, too, when they visit.

What I need is community. I need the freedom and the grace to be authentic. So hospitality, to me, is giving others the invitation to do the same.

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