Hey friends, this is a brief reminder that the Summer Reading Challenge will end this Friday. On Friday I’ll share what I read and you will have four days to leave a comment sharing what you read to be eligible for one of the ten $10 Amazon gift cards. I can’t wait to see what you’ve read!

What better way to get ready for the end of summer reading that to have a chance to win a book? Leslie and I met a million miles ago in China. We overlapped for five years as she taught in the program I was the director. She and her teammate taught at one of the most remote schools we had teachers. I remember going over all of the new teacher resumes and praying over placement. Single women were always the last to be placed because they were more moveable in options than say, a family of five.

I can still remember placing her at her school in Guyuan and then submitting her resume to the school. That we both ended up in Colorado and writers? A delightful twist of life paths. I love that Leslie and I are still in each others lives and can support each other. Today her book Invited: The Power of Hospitality in an Age of Loneliness is born! When she asked me to endorse her book, I jumped at the chance and said:

“I shudder at the word hospitality because it has been weaponized in Christian circles, especially for women. I wondered if Invited was another veiled shame message pointing out how I was failing yet again. It is not; instead, Leslie Verner breathes on the embers of connection we all long for, offering hope and examples of how you can invite others into your real life and forge life-giving relationships.”

If you like memoirs that nudge, dare I say invite you, to be the better version of yourself you know are possible, this is the book for you. Leslie has graciously given me a copy of Invited to give to one of you. Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to receive a physical, signed copy. (I’ll also sign my endorsement as a bonus. Ha!) If you don’t live in North America, you can enter and win it for someone else. Talk about hospitality!

Don’t you love this cover:

To give you a flavor of what you’ll find, here are four simple ways to show hospitality from Leslie:

1. Say no.

“Sorry, I’m too busy/have too much going on/already have plans …” are common refrains in American society. One way to show hospitality is to say no to busyness and frantic living. When we say no to another lesson, sport, or activity for our kids or ourselves, we reserve time in our lives for spontaneous hospitality and unplanned connection with people. 

What happens when we step into slowness and retain a buffer in our schedules reserved for relationship, rest, and wonder? We begin to notice the living, breathing souls right around us. We have time for them. We may even get to know their names, feel known, and start to feel less lonely ourselves. 

2. Say yes.

It’s easier for me to offer hospitality than to receive hospitality from others. As we risk the discomfort of giving up control, we learn the humility necessary for relationships to start. Has someone asked you into their life recently? What did you say? 

When we refuse busyness, we’ll have more opportunities to say yes to pausing on the sidewalk to chat with a neighbor. We might have more energy to invite someone over spontaneously or ask someone to meet us at a park or outdoor concert. Clearing away the extraneous clutter in our lives leaves space for us to say yes when God nudges us to ask, invite, or welcome outside our comfort levels.

3. Respect the Zone of Hospitality.

I stumbled on an article recently meant for hotel staff, but have begun to apply it to my own life. It describes the “10 and 5 Staff Rule.” The rule goes like this: If you pass within ten feet of someone, called the “zone of hospitality,” you make eye contact and “warmly smile” at a person. When you are within five feet of them, this smile is accompanied by a greeting or some kind of gesture of acknowledgment. 

While it seems obvious (and visits to the south prove the regional nature of the head nod, steering-wheel-finger-wave, and vocal greeting), I’ve started doing this here in Colorado. Mostly, I greet the people I pass on my runs. I often think to myself, What if I’m the only person who smiles at them or acknowledges them all day long? Some days, hospitality looks like a simple smile and a head nod to a stranger. 

4. Just Invite.

Admittedly, mustering up the nerve to put ourselves out there and risk rejection is the hardest part of hospitality. But the truth is that it takes very little effort on our part to send a text to someone we’ve been wanting to get to know. We pull out our phones, swipe to our text messaging app, and tap out: “Hey! Can you come over sometime?” And then we worry about the details when “sometime” comes around.

P.S. See you Friday for the Summer Reading Challenge Wrap-up. Don’t forget to leave a comment and you might win Invited!

Leave A Comment

  1. Hannah August 13, 2019 at 8:33 am - Reply

    I love reading your writings, can’t wait for your new book to be released, and would love a copy of this book…😀 All the best to you and yours

  2. Gayle Tucker August 13, 2019 at 9:41 am - Reply

    This looks a like a great book and an important reframing of hospitality.

  3. Sheri Felty August 13, 2019 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    Wow! Just reading your 4-point “summary” was so very thought provoking and helpful. Thanks for promoting this book. It is going on my “to read” list!

  4. Jen August 13, 2019 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    I’d love some encouragement in connecting with the actual breathing beings around me. I’d love to be able to say “my heart is willing” but both heart and flesh are weak and nervous in this arena. I hope to be encouraged by this lovely book soon!

  5. Kathryn August 13, 2019 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    This book looks intriguing! And the fact that you’re endorsing it, Amy, makes it even more appealing. Hospitality that leads to real-life life-giving relationships? I’m in!

  6. Avatar photo
    Amy August 19, 2019 at 8:00 am - Reply

    Thanks Friends! Winners have been drawn :)

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