Our family loves to entertain. I’ve written about taking friends crabbing, hosting our annual Mother-Daughter Cookie Swap, and hosting huge gatherings for holidays, graduations, weddings, and any other occasions that come along. I get a real thrill out of seeing a new RSVP pop into my inbox, and I spend hours planning menus, setting tables, putting up tents, decorating, and trying to make our home feel as festive and inviting as I can. I love finding and sharing new recipes as much as I love making the same beloved recipes over and over.
Whether we’re hosting a large event or simply having friends over for lunch or dinner, inviting others to our home and finding a way to make it special is the way I show my love and appreciation for them. That’s how our annual cookie swap got started–as a way of inviting our closest friends into our home to celebrate the gift of their friendship and let them know how special they are to us.
I believe this is one of the things we are called to do here on earth–to invite others into our home and share what we have with them. God is calling on us to prepare a banquet, to eat bread and drink wine with our friends and family, in preparation for what is to come–the great feast of the Lamb in Heaven. God is pleased with us when we open our homes, even more so, our lives, to others. “Go, eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with a merry heart, because it is now that God favors your works” (Ecclesiastes 9:7). It is my fervent hope to please God always, and one of the prayers I say most often is, “God, please help me to better serve You on earth so that I may feast with You in Heaven.” While I try to serve God in many ways, preparing and sharing meals with others is the best way I know to share my love with those around me, and I know it’s something I am called to do. “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink” (Matthew 25:34-35).
A few years ago, many of our Holy Land Pilgrimage brothers and sisters came to town for a long weekend. We toured St. Michaels and maritime museum, ate at a couple local places, and went crabbing, but most of our time was spent here at the house. Some of our pilgrim family stayed here for the entire weekend, and everyone gathered here for dinner the first night and then a crab feast and lawn games the next afternoon, staying late into the evening. While I did most of the cooking and baking, some of our friends brought food with them, most notable was the pork that Dan and Deb brought from Ohio and slow cooked on the grill all afternoon. It was superb! In the Jewish tradition, a shared meal symbolized a shared life. To share your food with others represented a holy bond. This is why Jesus’s meal at Matthew’s house was so scandalous–he was sharing a meal with a tax collector.
After they left, I began compiling photos from the weekend along with all of the recipes we shared. For Christmas that year, I sent everyone who came to the house that weekend a photo album/cookbook with all of the pictures and recipes. I wanted it to be a reminder of the special weekend we had together as well as an opportunity to recreate some of those moments in their own homes with their own families through the food we ate together.
As your summer winds down and fall quickly approaches, I invite you to share a meal at your home with others. Show them how much you care for them, and strengthen your holy bond. Here’s a recipe that everyone loves to help you start your menu planning. Bon appetite!
Summer Fruit Salsa
1 quart fresh strawberries
4 kiwi, peeled
1 ripe peach, peeled
1 green apple, peeled
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp cinnamon
Finely chop all fruit, and combine ingredients. Chill for one hour before serving.
We always serve with Stacey’s Cinnamon Pita Chips, but you can make your own by cutting tortillas into small triangles and toasting them at 400° until browned and crisp.
Be sure to catch me on one of these dates:
August 28 – Book signing – St. Mary’s Crab Festival in Leonardtown, Maryland 10:00AM-4:00PM
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What I was writing about a year ago this week: 10,000 Plants.
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Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019), A Devotional Alphabet (2019), Desert Fire, Mountain Rain(2020).