Loving on Others with Guest Gina Smith

We just returned last night from a whirlwind surprise trip to Charlotte, NC to see our two oldest kids. It was fabulous but it is good to be home!

I tried to keep up with reading all of your comments from over the weekend on my phone. So many of you loved how yesterday’s guest, Renee Swope, hosted our family in a very simple way–take out pizza, store-bought cookies & watermelon!

Now, our guest today gives you some ways to love on others in your life who drop in. And, a few ideas for loving on family members or even taking your love on the road!

Meet the clever Gina Smith!

Gina Smith has served alongside her husband at a small Christian college right outside of Washington DC for almost 20 years, where she serves as the Dean of Women.

She  previously dedicated her days to serving her family, but now that her children are both college students she fully enjoys her calling to mentor to women and young women in person and on-line with her blog Keepin’ It Real!

Gina has been a mom for 21 years and she and Brian have been married for 23 years. Gina also writes for RooMag.com, MomLife Today, and Internet Cafe Devotions.

Now, here ‘s Gina!

Over the years, I have taken advantage of the weeks before and after Valentine’s day, and I have collected things that I can use when I serve those who sit at my table.  I love heart shaped things!

I have purchased heart shaped cake pans, a heart shaped pancake griddle pan, a bundt cake pan that has hearts on the top of it, heart shaped cookie cutters, and ice cube trays that make heart shaped ice! I stock up on gift bags with hearts on them, heart shaped sprinkles, and anything else unique that I can find with a heart on it!   I love all of it!

Here are some ways that I am able to serve those who are in my home, and show them I love them:

~ On a cold day we serve hot chocolate with whipped cream and heart shaped sprinkles.

~ I’ll choose to cook  lasagna in a heart shaped pan or I’ll bake a cake in the heart bundt pan.

~ On a Saturday morning I make heart shaped pancakes.

~ If my daughter is having a rough week, I fill a gift bag decorated with hearts  with her favorite Bath and Body Works body spray and lotion.

~ When my son has been working a lot, and I haven’t seen him much, I put a bag of chocolate kisses on his pillow.

~ When my husband comes in from working out, I fill a glass with heart shaped ice cubes and fill it with water for him.

~ If I know someone needs encouragement, sometimes I will put a small candle, a tea bag and some chocolate kisses in a clear gift bag, tie a ribbon around it, attach a heart shaped card to the ribbon and give it to them when I see them next.

~ I love to look for any excuse to use my heart shaped purchases!

The heart shape symbolizes love.  I want love to be my theme.  Love for others. Love for my family.  I want them to know they are loved and cherished.

When people come into my home, I want them to leave feeling like they were loved. Life outside these four walls can be really hard.  There is pressure and stress, and people walk through my front door who are tired and weary.

I want my home to be a haven.  I want to celebrate and love on people, especially the precious people that have been loaned to me for a few years–My husband and children.

Having these things on hand makes it easy for me to pull them out and make an unexpected guest feel like we have been waiting for them!

Thanks, Gina!

Today’s giveaway is a $15 Target gift card and a signed copy of my book, The Complete Guide to Getting & Staying Organized. So, you can feel more on top of your game and be able to buy a few items to help you love on others too!

Since we are nearing the end of our study, {sniff, sniff} to be entered to win, leave us a comment with one change you want to make in your life as a result of this study.

ALSO:  This Friday’s idea swap & share will be on the concept I mention in the book called “hospitality on the road”. Be thinking of a clever way to reach out and love on someone that doesn’t involve your home but involves you going to them!

REMEMBER: We are also interacting over at Karen Ehman’s Book Studies on Facebook. Click here to “like” the page & join us.

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  • To be intentional with having people over for dinner or even just a cup of coffee and dessert. Being more hospitable to people rather than “entertaining” them.

  • My home is clean and fairly organized. Again, I just feel the need to “over do” when I have people over. My goal from this study is not to worry about the menu, but to focus on the time spent with friends and family.

  • I have recently started de-cluttering my home’s clutter zones. I hope that with this fresh new feeling and this study in mind, I will be more open to hosting brunch with friends, and less stressed when people just pop in unannounced! I enjoy being surrounded by loved ones and friends, but sometimes put too much pressure on myself for perfection. Think I’ll let that slide from now on! My doors will be open wide, along with my heart.

  • I just really want to change how I llike to keep to myself and just be happy with my family alone in our home. My husband will often say “Let’s have … over” and I usually turn the idea down with excuses on how I am so busy and have so much to do that we can’t. I really want to invite others in more and show them the love of Christ!!

  • I want to be more intentional about making my home a haven for my family. When we are having company over, I put extra effort into making our home look neat and organized. I want to do this for my family, not just for outside company!

  • Thank you so much for this study! It has blessed me greatly.
    There are two things which have blessed me greatly. They are: 1 – Praying individually for my guests rather than just as a group; and 2) not neglecting my husband.
    Thank you for changing my mind set, and I pray that God would use this to His glory.

  • I have to tell you that I finally got my book and read it in one night! Thank you for sharing your heart and the love of God through your book! I am ready to stop waiting around for the “right” time and just open myself up to be used by the one that gave the ultimate sacrifice for me! How can I not share all that I have when He gave it to me anyway.

    Thank you again for this study!! ;)

  • I already have made one Big change, in that I started preparing my husbands breakfast again.
    about 20 years ago when I had to go to work I got out of preparing his breakfast, but through this study and the Holy Spirit speaking to me, I have been preparing his breakfast for almost 2 weeks. I believe it helps him to feel loved and important.
    I would like to make a change to where I can invite people over and do in a simple way instead of getting stressed out with preparations.

  • I’d like to change my attitude more than anything else. I’m always worried about not having enough matching place settings, not having a big enough table, only having water to drink instead of tea, lemonade, soda, etc…. Instead of embracing the simplicity of my home or trying to be more prepared for a larger number of guests, I seem to always apologize for what I don’t have, or what I haven’t done. I need to change my attitude – offer what I have, be as welcoming as I can, and just enjoy my company!

  • I have a little pillow that I got at The Christian Book Store and it has embroidered Scripture on it: “This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
    I try to follow that advice each day. There has been so much good advice on the “replies” following each day’s guest speaker/writer. Thank you to all who have written in and a big thank you to each guest speaker/writer for your insight and wisdom you share with us.

  • Oh I have loved this study and it has changed my attitude that things can be “simple” for company to come over, or for me to fix something easy to eat or take to a family. I think it’s just a change of perception of what people appreciate, and I now see it from a different viewpoint – as a working mom who would sooooo appreciate the simplicity of another friend if the roles were reveresed! I will definitely remember these comments and plan to keep them printed out and in a journal so I can easily access them and pull them out in a time of “panic” if company calls!! Thank you so much for a great topic of devotionals! I have loved this!! I hate to see it end!!

  • I’m an introvert, raised by parents who are even more introverted than I am. The result of this is that I’ve got a completely different view of “home” than many people: “home” is a refuge for the people who live here, but not anyone else. A few months ago, God blessed us with a beautiful home, and I knew he didn’t do that just for my immediate family. He wants us to use this home to bless others. In the past week, we’ve ignored the excuses (our house is a mess, we have two kids three and under, blah blah) and invited another couple over for dinner; it was a blast! I also invited another friend who lives out of state and who was driving through the area with her two small kids to stop in if she needed a break; she didn’t take me up on it, but the fact that I thought of her and what she might need and made sure it was available to her is a huge step for me. Thanks for this study; it’s opening my eyes to the needs of those beyond my immediate family. God isn’t calling me to be something different than I am; I may never be one of those people who entertains on a regular basis, but he is calling me to use what he’s given me to bless those he puts in my path, introvert or no. ;)

  • We don’t do as much entertaining as we’d like, do to conflicting work schedules, but I really love the heart themed homemade gifts of food, etc. with the primary recipients my family whom I serve everyday. thank you.

  • Having a home that is company ready at ALL times. I always try to cook my meal before church on Sunday morning, I want to start inviting people over after service or anytime.

  • The change I’m trying to make during this study is to speed clean my house! So far, so good – my house has been “mother-in-law-clean” for three weeks so far! I’m really excited and hope I can stay motivated enough to keep it this way.

  • I want to live more intentionally. To make time for those little things that could mean so much to someone else.

  • I want to start reaching out to the few people I know and to people I don’t know. I’ll be getting married in August and we’d like to open our home so this study is giving me wonderful ideas to help with that.

  • Very nice ideas. My other place for learning hospitality is the workplace. Since I am at work 5-6 days per week and 8+ hours. It’s a place where I can practice loving others. You can leave extra time on parking meters for hospitality on the road. Do little things for others at work, hold the door open if you see someone headed your direction, make a pot of coffee when the other is done., fill the copier, fax, and a multitude of other little tasks to help other employees. I often leave little goodies in their mailboxes. There are so many places to practice hospitality-on our family, friends, co-workers, and even those we don’t know. Thanks everyone for the great stories and ideas.

  • I want to change by just not being afraid to have people see my home just the way it is. When I can do special things to make it nice, I will. But if you show up on a whim, I don’t want to be afraid to invite you in. I always have cool water to drink and nice conversation no matter the state of my home. Welcome!