The first time I visited Sue Donaldson at her blog page, I saw one of her videos. Immediately, I thought I want to sit down and have a chat with this lovely lady at her kitchen table. She is funny and hospitable and most importantly she is an amazing woman of faith.
She encourages us to be welcoming while teaching others about the love of Jesus. Below is a post that Sue previously wrote on her page, Welcome Heart, a story which she loves to share because it speaks to the motivation of God’s hospitality. I love this post and I know you will, too.
Don’t miss the question below for an opportunity to sign up for Sue’s book, Come to My Table.
Also, want to hang out with Sue, request to join her Facebook Page, Welcome Heart Party
Thank you so much for meeting us here, Sue!
(This story was used with permission from Sue Donaldson of Welcome Heart)
To be hospitable isn’t a suggestion.
Many may leave it to the extroverts and the Marthas – either Martha. I love helping others see what God will do with an extra place at the table and some hot sauce — or some Caramel Salted Brownies. Here’s what He did awhile back all because of an invitation.
“Would you like to come for Thanksgiving?” I asked Amie, a regular customer at our store.
The question hung in silence a little too long for my comfort—two seconds or so. I rushed on, “We’re kinda loud. We play games. We have lots of food. Really, a lot of food….”
She smiled. “I’m a good cook. Just made caramel salted brownies. I could bring caramel salted brownies.”
Well, well. My kids don’t like pie. I’ve tried, really. But brownies? Caramel salted?
“You’re in, Amie—you don’t even have to come—just leave the brownies on the porch!”
We laughed and said goodbye.
I didn’t know Amie’s last name or phone number. She didn’t know where we lived. All I knew was that Amie, recently divorced, wasn’t going to have her two little girls on Thanksgiving for the first time ever. And I didn’t want her to be alone.
The night before the big day, I got a text: “50/50 I’m coming.” My sister-in-law said, “Tell her to send the 50.”
The next morning, Amie made brownies and bravely faced our wild clan. Everyone loved her and loved on her. My artist brother gave her a painting. My poet brother gave her a book of poetry. My children fell in love with her brownies.
After the singing and sharing, she pulled me aside and quietly said, “This was the best Thanksgiving in my whole life.”
Really. I said she and her girls and her brownies were always welcome.
Two weeks later, she came to church. Three days later, she came to coffee. At the same table, minus the extra leaf, Amie grabbed my hand and said, “I’m ready” and prayed to become God’s new child.
A new guest in God’s kingdom.
All because of an invitation.
“Want to come for coffee?”
“Can you stop by this week?”
“Would you like to come to church? You can sit with us.”
God’s in the business of filling up all the seats around His table. Who do you know who could use an invitation?
Oswald Chambers wrote:
“The questions in life are remarkably few and they are all answered by the words—‘Come unto Me.’” (My Utmost for His Highest, June 11)
Jesus says, “Come to Me” whenever we take the risk to invite another.
“Would you like to come over? We’re normal, well, you know, ordinary, but fun and I think you’d enjoy yourself. We’d love to have you join us. Yes, you can bring your kids and your mother and Aunt Jessie from New York. You don’t have to bring anything, but you can if you want.”
Invite someone. The holidays are the perfect time. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be homemade. It doesn’t have to be planned in advance or pinned on Pinterest. There’s always room for more.
Maybe the next person you meet needs an invitation to your table. Maybe the next Person they meet will be Jesus.
PS Amie and girls come most Sundays for chocolate chip pancakes. We look forward to our second Thanksgiving together this year.
I’d love to give away a copy of my book: Come to My Table: God’s Hospitality and Yours – leave a comment to this question and you’re entered to win:
What makes you feel most welcomed when you go to someone’s home?
Sue and her Man-in-Plaid of 28 years live on the Central Coast of California but forget to go to the beach most days. They love their three semi-adult daughters and enjoy feeding them when they come home. Sue blogs on hospitality and God’s welcoming heart at: www.welcomeheart.com.
Follow her on Instagram @suemooredonaldson or
Join her hospitality FB group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1738964459700351/?ref=bookmarks
The more the merrier.
To read more about this group see: http://welcomeheart.com/journal/2016/06/26/journal20160624needing-hospitality-encouragement-join-the-club-join-the-party-html.html
And her book here: http://welcomeheart.com/come-to-my-table
Amie and Her Brownies, as promised.
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
8 ounces plus 6 ounces Hershey’s semisweet chocolate chips
3. 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate ( I use TJ’s simply lite dark choc. bar)
3 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee granules ( I use TJ’s brand, very affordable)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 to 6 ounces good caramel sauce ( Again TJ’s…salted caramel)
2 to 3 teaspoons flaked sea salt ( or kosher salt)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a
9 x 12 x 1 1/2-inch baking pan.
Melt the butter, 8 ounces of the chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate together in a medium bowl set over simmering water. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature (see note below).
In a medium bowl, sift together – cup of the flour, the baking -powder, and salt and add to the chocolate mixture. Toss the remaining 6 ounces of chocolate chips and the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour in a medium bowl and add them to the chocolate mixture. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick, comes out clean. Don’t overbake!
As soon as the brownies are out of the oven, place the jar of caramel sauce without the lid in a microwave and heat just until it’s pourable. Stir until smooth. Drizzle the caramel evenly over the hot brownies and sprinkle with the sea salt. Cool completely and cut into 12 bars. (I re-salt as I serve, as I find the salt “melts” a bit)
Note: It is very important to allow the batter to cool before adding the chocolate chips or the chips will melt and ruin the brownies.