Maple Alps

homemaking

Three Things to Know About Biblical Hospitality

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

What do you think of when you hear the word, “Hospitality”? I’m sure a few things may cross your thoughts like perfect Pinterest-worthy table settings and the latest mason jar craft. Maybe the South comes to mind with their famous Southern Hospitality, or finally getting to use that fancy wedding set you got years ago. I must admit: I thought the same. Since I was young, I would pour over home magazines, oohing and ahhing over all the pretty things that could house delicious meals (who am I kidding? I still do that from time to time). When I threw a party, I threw a party, going all out with decor and matching dishes and sometimes thematic scapes that would impress even Joanna Gaines (okay, maybe not that great, but you get the picture). 



When the topic of Biblical Hospitality came  up, I had no idea what that was. I had taken one of those spiritual gifts test and had gotten hospitality as one and I did not know what that meant. I decided to dig a little deeper. Here are just a few things I found in the Bible about hospitality (all verses are from the English Standard Version)




  • “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2

  • “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:9

  • "Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality." Romans 12:13

  • "She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy." Proverbs 31:20

  • “...and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts” Acts 2:46

  • “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me” Matthew 25:35




It is tempting to get discouraged in times like today when social media shows picture-perfect homes and tablescapes. It’s tempting to just give up and not even bother trying unless your party is Instagram-worthy. 




With the Bible being so clear on the importance of each of us showing hospitality, I felt it important to not only practice it, but help others do so as well. Today, I want to share with you just three things to know about Biblical Hospitality. I hope it is practical for you and will encourage you as you move forward in blessing others!

Three Things to Know About Biblical Hospitality | www.maplealps.com


1) It Is For Everyone and Yields Great Joy




We are to show hospitality to everyone we meet - not just our family and friends. Hospitality requires vulnerability and obedience. Some of the best and most memorable visits are messy and unexpected. Sometimes showing hospitality is even unwanted! I’ve had many a time, especially because I’ve devoted my life to ministry, where people have shown up at the door, or plans have been made very last minute. I’m quite type A and like to have things perfectly in order. When I’m tempted to turn people down or shrink away, I remember Christ’s example of embracing everyone. It is always a blessing when I choose to follow His way.




Although the practice of hospitality asks the sacrifice of our time, our needs and our resources, it is rewarded with great joy. There is not much that is more energizing and fulfilling than serving others. You just need to be willing!




2) Hospitality is Not the same as Entertaining




There is no mention of Pinterest or picture-perfect table spreads in any definitions of hospitality. Of course, there is nothing wrong with making things beautiful for our guests (and we absolutely should create pleasant and warm atmospheres for them), but is your motivation true hospitality, or just showing off? 




Remember: entertaining is to impress, but hospitality is to bless.




The best hospitality I’ve experienced has been with those who encourage me and welcome me without even trying. I’ve left their company refreshed and ready to pass their love to others. Be sure that people leave your company refreshed and invigorated for good, and pray that they have experienced Christ through you.





3) Hospitality Is About More Than Sharing a Meal




Hospitality can be risky, and is asked of all of us (remember those verses above?). While some of us may find it easier to do than others, we are all called to show Christ's love and hospitality - it can be (and should be!) a part of our lives.




Being aware of the needs of others is a huge way to show this. Pray with others. Encourage them. Listen to them! Yes, give them a meal if that is how you are ministering to them. Meeting needs in a practical way is truly hospitable - would we not want the same to be shown to us?





Hospitality is for us to show God's love to others. God calls us to it, and the rewards are eternal. We have been blessed so we can bless others. Withholding hospitality will hinder our joy. 





How do you show hospitality? What are some things you struggle with when doing so? Does it come easily to you?












5 Steps to Simplify Your Closet

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps4 Comments

I used to be overwhelmed with the amount of clothing I owned and I didn't even know it. When I moved away from home and found that living out of two suitcases was actually possible, it changed my life - especially when it came to my wardrobe.

Simplifying my closet has been a lifelong project for me, but for you, it doesn’t have to be. It took me years to let go of the clothing that didn’t flatter me or make me feel good (and to realize that, hey, I don’t actually need to keep it just because I bought it!). I am finally at the point where I can see every single article of clothing at any given time, and I know exactly what I own, and know that everything I have fits me well and suits me.

Today, I want to share with you a basic guide to help you begin with your clothing purging process.

Affiliate link used in post

5 Steps to Simplifying Your Closet | www.maplealps.com
 

 

Step One: Prepare to Purge



It is important to prepare before starting the great purge. Gather some boxes, bins or garbage bags and label them: Sell, Donate, Throw Away (a garbage bag works well for this particular category).



Keep these things in mind as you begin, so you know exactly what bin/bag each article of clothing should go into 



  1. Sell newer (or unworn!) clothing in good condition (think ThredUP or other consignment stores in your area)

  2. Donate older clothing in good condition (Goodwill, Salvation Army, friends, etc.)

  3. Throw away anything that is beyond repair



Do not hesitate to get rid of items that you feel you might need in the future for a special event like a themed party, etc. Remember that you can always borrow from a friend when something comes up, or even get creative with what you already own or check a second hand store.





Step Two: Remove Everything From Your Closet



Yes, you read that right. Every. Last. Item. Pile them on top of your [made] bed and get ready to go through each and every single item. You must handle every single article of clothing.

 
Declutter Guide Download.png




Step Three: Begin




Be honest about your clothing - Get rid of everything that doesn't fit, is worn out or beyond repair, things that you don't love wearing, items that you haven't worn for a year (or years!), and most importantly, anything that does not bring you joy. Consider your current personal style (which has likely changed if you haven’t done this in a while) and decide whether your current articles of clothing reflect it. If you don’t look good in it or don’t feel good in it, do not bother keeping it.



Accessories, shoes and scarves too! - Let go of accessories that no longer fit your personal style or are no longer usable (i.e. have holes, rips, etc.). Don’t forget that handbags and wallets  fall under this category too, so avoid neglecting your collection! Make sure all zippers are working and there are no worn holes or other broken parts.



Critique your sock drawer - It's time to let go of the socks that have no partner and the underwear with, gasp, holes! Anything with worn out elastics should be purged as well. Don’t forget to think about hosiery - anything with runs or that no longer fits right needs to go! 



Remove things that shouldn't be in your closet at all! - Your closet is not a catch all for everything that doesn’t fit under your bed (not that you should have things under your bed either…). Make sure your closet is a safe home for your precious clothing and accessories.



Related: My Favorite Organizational Products


Step Four: Return Items to the Closet



After your diligent sorting, it is time to return your items to the closet. There are so many different ways to organize, but one way I like is having longer hanging items on the left and shorter to the right. It creates a nice draw for the eyes and is easy to get to what you’re looking for. I also sort by tones - dark to light. I personally do not think there is one right way to organize, but make sure that you can see every article of clothing in your closet. Out of sight, out of mind, really is applicable to wardrobes. What also helps? Using pretty hangers! I love wooden ones, like these ones from Amazon.




Step Five: Sit back and admire your work



Enjoy a tall, cold glass of lemonade or water too. You deserve it. Good job!



 

 


It's amazing what kind of relief fills your heart when you open the doors to a simplified closet. Why don't you take a chance and try it out?


 

Some of My Favourite Organizational Products

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps5 Comments

In January of 2018, I shared that one of my favorite books I read in 2017 was The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I went full force tidying out every category in my home and enjoyed every minute of it. I have always enjoyed tidying and cleaning and organizing. Seriously, as a preteen and teenager I was (and still am) a sucker for a good home interiors magazine with an organizational article! Cleaning and reorganizing my room was the most fun I would have on a weekend. I get bored and like to freshen things up sometimes.

Some of My Favourite Organizational Products | www.maplealps.com

This year, with the whole explosion of the KonMari method with the show (has anyone out there seen it yet?), I thought I might share a few (just a few!) of my favorite organizational tools. I’ve used these and I love them for their functionality as well as their style.

 
 

I’ve always gravitated toward products that help me organize every room in my home - especially when they look nice! Honestly, I probably shop more for home things than clothes or toiletries for myself! I just love it when my surroundings are clean and orderly and organized and free of clutter. It clears the mind and does wonders for creativity!

I love how these items help me keep my things in order and seen from my pantry to my dresser drawers!

Related: Essentials For Your Plant Based Kitchen

 
Declutter Guide Download Maple Alps
 
 

What are some of your favorite organizational tools and products?


 
Organizational Products

My Evening Routine

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps1 Comment

Earlier this year, I shared some tips for a great morning routines, and as you guessed it, I'm here again to talk about more! This time, I'm just going to share my evening routine. 

There is something about a morning/evening routine that makes one feel accomplished and at peace. It also adds the structure that I need.

Tips for a great evening routine | www.maplealps.com

Tidy Up

This is honestly just so that my morning will go much smoother. I don't think that tripping over articles and coming out to a sink brimming with dishes is the best start to a day, do you? Making sure the kitchen is cleaned and that everything is off the floor is the absolute least I can do to help my morning go well.

Get Ready for the Next Day

Not only does this also contribute to a smooth day, it helps me think about what I will need, and kind of acts as closure for the day's events. I like to pack my lunch for the next day, and even my bag gets packed and gets put by the door. I even choose and set out my outfit. This prevents me from running around in the morning (and waking up my husband!) while looking for the items I need. Although, I forgot my socks this morning and had to sneak back into our bedroom to get a pair. Oops!

Look At To-Do List

I don't know about you, but if I don't look at my to-do list before bed, I wake up (often in the middle of the night) stressed out about what is or what isn't on that list. Looking at it gives me a sort of game plan for the next day and I feel more at ease and in control. Even if the next day does not go as planned, it's alright because I already got the sleep I needed the night before!

Turn Off Electronics

I try to turn off my electronics an hour before I actually sleep. It helps me wind down, and gives me a really good excuse to takle the books and magazines stacked on my nightside table. Honestly, besides the whole electronic screen keeps you awake thing, it's nice to not have time disappear because I was mindlessly scrolling on my phone. I like to keep my phone out of my bedroom. 

Related: What Happened When I Created a Phone-Free Zone

The Basics

Obviously, I brush my teeth, floss, and wash my face! A warm shower helps me sleep, and I cannot go to sleep without getting the day off my skin! Just thinking about everything that gets on me during my day grosses me out, and making sure I get it all off puts my mind at ease (and makes my skin happy).

Pray

I like to end the day the same way I start it out - in conversation with God! I love to fall asleep in Jesus’ arms.


Related: 7 Ways to Increase Your Prayer Life

 

 

What is your favourite part of your evening routine?


 

 

How to Host on a Budget

Lifestyle, MoneyAmanda Walter | Maple Alps4 Comments

After publishing my mini hospitality series and this post here, I was inspired to share some more tips and ideas on the topic of hosting and hospitality. Budget is always something that I try to be mindful of because if I’m not, money starts disappearing. Well, not really, but you get what I’m trying to say.

I am passionate about the topic of hospitality and I so wish it was something that was practiced more! Gathering together is such an encouraging thing - even for an introvert like myself. It’s so important to cultivate the culture or fellowship, and this is one way that is often overlooked in this age of technology.

Today, I want to share some more practical tips about hosting others, but this time on the topic of finances. Is it possible to have guests over and stay within your budget? Absolutely!

How to Host on a Budget | www.maplealps.com

Choose simple meals you are familiar with

When you’re hosting someone intentionally, what food you serve is not as important as how you serve and encourage hearts. Choose a simple, healthy meal that will not leave anyone feeling too heavy. Also, choose a meal you are comfortable cooking - nights you are hosting are not the nights you should experiment with a new dish. You might end up tossing it and going back to something easy anyway, so save your pennies on a simple meal! Some of my favourites are:

Roasted Garlic Pasta, Green Beans, Bread, and a Salad!

Fruit for dessert with some easy cookies or homemade ice cream

 

Meal plan accordingly

There is no need to go overboard with the amount of food you serve. Plan accordingly for your amount of guests (and you!).

 

Set a Budget and Shop smart

Without setting a budget, there will be no boundaries to the amount you spend. That being said, there is no reason to go overboard or over your budget when picking up groceries. Check for coupons, and don’t go shopping when you’re hungry! Also, check your pantry before you leave!

 

Related: How Not to Go Broke From Buying Groceries

 

Pick flowers from your own garden

While not necessary, flowers are nice to have to create a welcoming environment. Depending on the season, rather than buying flowers, clip some from your own garden (or sit outside and enjoy the garden!). You don’t have to buy expensive blooms to have them appreciated.

 

Use cloth napkins

We always host with cloth napkins because we don’t buy paper ones in an effort to reduce our waste production. But the cloth version helps with the budget too! They don’t cost much extra to wash because we just throw them in with the rest of the kitchen linens anyway, and they can be used over and over again! It’s a great plus that they’re pretty! Just make sure they’re nice and clean before giving them to a guest.

 

Consider a potluck if appropriate

If there is no way you can accommodate everyone, or there is an extremely large group coming, consider asking for help! Make it a potluck so no one feels awkward - where everyone brings their favourite side or dish. You can even assign items so you have more control over the menu. It’s always fun to sample different dishes, and most people don’t mind bringing something to share!


 


How do you host on a budget? Any tips?