“Frodo was now safe in the Last Homely House east of the Sea. That house was, as Bilbo had long ago reported, ‘a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep, or story-telling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all.’ Merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear and sadness.” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring


Shauna Niequist gave a great talk on hospitality at Allume.   Something she said has stuck with me ever since—”People should leave your presence feeling better about themselves, not better about you.”

Oh the sting of the truth.  I blew it again this weekend even though I’m almost ALWAYS reminding myself to think of others first.   I was in a situation where I met a handful of new people and I immediately slid into my default mode of trying to make sure they knew I wasn’t JUST a stay at home mom.  Before I had been with them for ten minutes, I’m pretty sure they knew I had a book coming out and was a physician in my former life.  I was doing it before I even realized it.  It’s just who we all are at our core—so hopelessly self-centered.  Immediately, Shauna’s words pricked my conscience and  before the night was over, I was able to show interest in them and find out some things about their lives.  Maybe one of these days I’ll learn.  Perhaps I should revisit my own words on hospitality…

from my ebook 31 Days to a Heart of Hospitality

We’ve talked a little about what hospitality is and what it is not.  We’ve even conceded that we desperately need each other.

But hospitality doesn’t come just because you have a better understanding of what it is.

Hospitality follows closely behind its friend, humility.

C.S. Lewis gave the best definition of humility I’ve heard when he said, ”Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.

And that may be our biggest barrier to hospitality.  We are so often so full of ourselves that there’s no room to welcome anyone else.  Our thoughts are so consumed by all the details of our own busy lives that we can’t even find the time to be curious about other people. Humility takes the stance, ”I don’t know you or understand you but I’m willing to empty my heart just a little of myself and welcome you in.”

We come to relationships and even to strangers with such a hidden agenda, one that we don’t even see. We need them to like us, to do something for us, to make us feel a certain way. When it comes right down to it, we manipulate the people in our lives to do what we want them to do.  When is the last time you came to a relationship, emptied of yourself, without your own agenda, and sought to know the other person and find out their need?  I wish I could say that’s my normal posture but so often, it is not.

Wouldn’t our marriages and our relationships with our kids be different if we weren’t always trying to get our way? It’s called putting yourself in someone else’s shoes—-living in their skin.

And that is the very humility and love that Christ demonstrates toward us.

He comes to us in the humblest of means—by bread, wine, water, and Word, His body broken for our redemption, His blood poured out for our salvation.


I despair this morning that I’m so full of self, that I come to every single relationship ready to plow my way through my own agenda.

But Christ has made the perfect exchange.

He takes on my pride and gives me His humility.

He takes on my lies and gives me His truth.

He takes my sin, death and darkness and gives me life and salvation.

We wear humility and we get a glimpse of what it’s like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

Hospitality is learning to live toward others with His borrowed love, in His perfect humility. He gives us what we don’t have in exchange for what He has in abundance.

Lord, give us Your humility, teach us to give ourselves to others and forgive our stubborn selfishness.


As a thank you for meeting me here so often, I’d like to offer you a free copy of my ebook on hospitality.  Maybe it will inspire you or challenge you this week as you welcome people into your home and heart.


To get a pdf or epub file of the book, subscribe to my monthly newsletter, which is going out bright and early in the morning and will direct you to a private landing page on my blog where you’ll have access not only to a free copy of the ebook but to all the archived freebies over the last few months, including two beautiful printables and a menu plan for October, November, and December.

Click here to subscribe!

Also, only a few more days to take advantage of my Young Living November special!  Also, be looking for a free webinar (maybe next weekend!) about how we use the oils in our family.  Young Living Essential oils have changed everything about how our family manages health and wellness.  We are slowly but surely getting off all our OTC and even some of our prescription medications, plus we’re fighting off a host of common fall and winter infections.  Read more about it here!


33 comments on “A Heart of Hospitality”

  1. Hi Edie,
    I am already a newsletter subscriber and previously purchased your wonderful ebook. However, the ebook sits on my dead laptop. Is there a way for me to receive a pdf of your free offering of the ebook?

    Thank you so very much!

  2. Hi Edie! I joined YL a couple of months ago but haven’t quite gotten a handle on how to use them. Is it possible to join any of your groups, participate in your webinar, etc even though i’m already signed up? I would absolutely LOVE any extra help and advice regarding it all! Thank you!

  3. Thank you for the great reminders on hospitality….your words ring so true! And thank you for bring so vulnerable on your website….can’t wait to read your ebook !

  4. Edie, I hate to admit this however, like Melissa I purchased your book too and downloaded it then never could find it on my computer….sad but true! Will look forward to trying again tomorrow. I also look forward to your YL ideas. I too am a member and use them however, not near enough. Would love more information.
    I love Shauna’s statement above. What a great way to leave someone, feeling better than when you met up with them. I am anxious to hear her presentation…I’ll also check out the others that are on the website…would love to go next year!
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  5. I can’t see how to download the ebook. I subscribed and went to the redirected page and can’t find a link other than the one to paypal. Can you help out the clueless ;)?

  6. Dear Edie,
    I bought your e-book when it was first published and it opened my eyes that real hospitality is not just about receiving guests in your home and providing nice accommodation and food, etc, but it is very much also, or even more, about opening your heart and be really welcoming. You made me very aware of hospitality in that sense, and since I read your e-book I try to do so.
    And here of course comes “the BUT”.
    I am really struggling to continue to be welcoming to an old friend who is imposing herself, inviting herself to a trip my partner and I had planned for ourselves, inviting herself to my new home to come and help with the move, etc. etc. She is a very old friend I love; the issue is she is very bossy. She always has been bossy and I have always struggled with her bossiness, but living in different countries (within in Europe) for the last 35 years and both having full-time jobs, that was okay. We met on average twice a year. Now she is retiring “and has all the time in the world’ (she does not have a partner) and to be honest that scares me.
    How to be welcoming in the way you describe in your e-book without being kind of overtaken by guests who behave differently from what you would expect from guests. And how to manage without destroying such an old friendship? Do you have any suggestions please?
    Kind regards,

    • Oh so hard. I don’t have any easy answers but I can say that I do believe God often uses the hardest relationships in our lives to transform us in the most significant way. That said, you must protect and nourish your first relationship, which is to your husband. Praying for you dear.

  7. Perfect post, Edie- for me! Thank you for sharing 🙂
    I loved Shauna’s share- I think that was in her book, Cold Tangerines? I loved that book! It was an impulse buy- I cannot remember? (and am wishing your book was already out)
    I love that BIG monogram necklace AND the orange polka dot pumpkin!
    Edie, I signed up under you for YL & did not get to order that night. Long story- If I sign in and order, is everything still the same? Do you get the credits, etc? Can you let me know?
    Looking forward to the newsletter and YL 🙂
    Hoping all of you have the best Thanksgiving yet 🙂
    Big Hugs & Love

  8. Thanks for this! I’m going to work really hard to remember over the next few days, especially! Happy Thanksgiving, Edie!

  9. Love this. Love your heart and how you pour it all out for your family and your guests.

    Random question as I look at your header… what do you use to hang your plates? I adore that white plate wall!

  10. Love this. Love your heart and how you pour it all out for your family and your guests.

    Random question as I look at your header… what do you use to hang your plates? I adore that white plate wall!

    • Thank you Rhonda! I use regular plate hangers. You can get them at Hobby Lobby or other craft stores, maybe even Walmart. It’s a wire hanger that goes around the plate that you then hang on a wall hanger. So easy!!

  11. Edie, I thought I had subscribed to your newsletter a while back when you went “off the air” for a while writing your book. However, I never get it. I’m reading you a day late today because yesterday was full of babysitting, stress, headaches, etc. If I subscribe today, can I still get the link? I’m a faithful follower, listened to your podcasts, tried two of your recipes, and told other people about you. I WANT THIS EBOOK! I’ve never been good at hospitality, and want your insights.

  12. Edie-I’ve read your blog since just before your beautiful house burned down. I appreciate your heart, introspection, focus on God’s teachings and your love for your family. But honey, I really think you are too hard on yourself! God knows your heart and how hard you strive to be what He wants you to be. We all fail in our pursuit of God’s teachings but we know that we’ve tried and will continue to try. I really do ache for your sad heart sometimes and think you might be depressed over failing to be everything you want to be. Maybe you just need to relax and enjoy your life, your family, your church? The pursuit of perfection is a no win situation. Relax, breathe, smile and love your life. I’m probably telling you things that many others in your life have told you but I really hate to see you beat yourself up all the time when you’re a fine person finding her way as we all are. Have a happy Thanksgiving with your beautiful family!

  13. Is the Thanksgiving litany the same as the prayer for the home? I
    see the prayer for the home and a prayer for children in the e-book. Thank
    you and Happy Thanksgiving!

  14. Hello! I bought your ebook a few weeks ago and haven’t received it! I don’t want to start a PayPal claim, so please reply to me!

  15. ouch, this I such a true post and I need much work. beautiful reminders and tips about the greatest host of all the best and only example we need. Christ.
    love it.

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