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Heart for Hospitality - Less is More

Our blog series where we will share recipes, tips, stories, and our hearts around hospitality. Inviting others into your home and around your table is a simple act that can bring profound joy and connection. It doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. What happens around your table is way more important than a clean house and a homemade meal. 


I grew up on paper plates. Did you? What about styrofoam cups? Growing up, we hosted tons of cookouts and “backyard parties,” as we called them, at my house. I can remember being in my backyard, laughing my head off with tons of other sweaty kids dripping in popsicle juice, sinking my teeth into the styrofoam cup that was repeatedly filled up with Country Time Lemonade. These are some of my sweetest memories growing up, and you know why? Because they were no-frill, real-life hangouts with people we loved and did life with. 

I could not tell you a single time my mom was ever even the slightest bit stressed about hosting these cookouts for our neighbors. Why be stressed? Our neighbors also had an ant problem in their kitchen. They also had young kids that barreled through the door in mud. They also ate on paper plates and drank out of styrofoam cups! So whenever we had these friends over, it was just like any other Friday. There was no clean-up to be done beforehand, no frantic vacuuming at the eleventh hour, no fragrant candle to be lit in the bathroom, or flowers on the kitchen counter. Nope, just mismatched plastic utensils from the cookout before. Napkins, too, if we remembered.

I think that being hospitable goes hand in hand with being joyful. If we’re women who are stressing over a neighborhood cookout, how can we possibly show gracious hospitality? How can we possibly look our neighbors in the eyes and be engaged in conversation when, in the back of our minds, we’re worried about the food not being good? Hospitality is opening our homes and our hearts, not presenting perfection. However, I get it. I like nice things, too…I really do. And of course, they have a place! But in the grand scheme of things, if going the extra mile for a “dinner with friends” becomes even the slightest bit stressful, then it’s not worth it. If we’re having friends over for dinner, I’m often really tempted to break out pretty things. But why…literally, WHY?! As a mom of three tiny kids with a negative amount of time on my hands, why should I break out my pretty things for my friends who already know I stay in my pajamas until 4? There is so much graciousness to be found in the act of simply opening our home. That’s it! That’s all we have to do!

Less is more. If I, a thirty-year-old with practically zero memory of my life pre-kids, can remember that some of my best childhood memories were the most casual, unassuming, laid-back dinners with my neighborhood friends, then I think the same will be true for my kids. When my kids are thirty, they’re not going to remember the time we had people over and ate on the “nice plates” and had freshly grated cheese on their pasta over the floors I’d just mopped. No, they’re going to remember all the times we ate on paper plates on the back porch with unlimited juice boxes.

In the spirit of doing less, this recipe is MORE! Here’s my absolute favorite recipe to make when we’re having friends over or if I’m bringing dinner to someone. Once you make this, you’ll understand: a mom created this recipe. It is equally easy to make as it is absolutely delicious, and it feeds a crowd. And when I say a crowd, I mean I can stretch it to make 2 ½  9x13 casserole dishes of enchiladas. Make it gluten-free with GF tortillas or dairy-free with DF sour cream. Yes, these are the recipes we need, ladies. Here’s to doing less and opening up our homes for what matters most!

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Such awesome reminders!! Thank you Meredith for writing this great blog post! You are challenging me to bust out those paper plates!


Meredith, I wanted to express my gratitude for your exceptional blog post. It served as a valuable reminder for me, especially considering my involvement in ministry alongside my husband. I often find myself getting too preoccupied with the superficial aspects, such as the aesthetics. Your words have prompted me to shift my focus towards truly caring for others, even if it means using simple paper plates and styrofoam cups. Thank you for this important reminder.

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