13 Things Grandma Knew About Hospitality

Recently I’ve been thinking about hospitality and how few people seem to actually practice it. Excuses abound and I’ve been guilty of some of them myself. I’ve wondered if maybe the perfectionist culture of magazines like Martha Stewart Living had something to do with it.


perfectionism prevents us from practicing hospitality


What if the roast burns or the souffle falls? What if our dining room doesn’t look like this? (What if we don’t have a dining room?!)

Letting others see our humanness can be pretty daunting.

Then I thought about Pinterest and all my recipe boards. Maybe pinning 500 recipes is missing the point; the point is actually pinning down a date to have people over!

Don’t get me wrong; there’s certainly nothing wrong with setting a gorgeous table or whipping up a gourmet feast if that’s something you’re good at. I did a pretty good Martha Stewart imitation myself back in the day.


12 layer Dobosh torte


But I’ve learned something over the years: Read more

Happy Birthday From Me to You

Crossing an item off my bucket list this week as I spend four days in NYC!

I’ve visited the Big Apple many times but never during the holidays. BONUS: my brother lives in Manhattan so I have a personal tour guide to All the Things.

I can’t wait to window shop, see the tree, decorations and soak up everything Christmas!

I’m writing this from the airport where I arrived two hours early because I was so excited to unwrap this fabulous birthday present. But I want you guys to have a present to open too, so I came up with something special just for you.

For the next five days, December 13- 17, I have scheduled a FREE PROMOTION for my Kindle book http://holidazedbook.com, just in time for your holiday preparations!


When there's so many Christmas presents you have to call a timeout, you know its too much


Here’s what you’ll get when you open your gift:

  • Stop the Insanity Tips
  • Holiday spending reality check
  • Hospitality w/o the hassle
  • Unique & frugal gift-giving ideas
  • Traditions that transcend
  • Grocery shopping advice so you don’t overspend
  • Humorous stories
  • Stocking your pantry
  • Easy recipes for busy weekdays
  • Loads of time tested holiday recipes
  • How to tame the time crunch
  • Organization tips galore
  • How to put the merry back into Christmas


This all-encompassing holiday guide will be a reference you’ll pull out for years to come:

“Everybody needs to hear what you have to say. Nobody rocks a holiday with as much balance as you do… Susan Ely is the holiday master.”

“I just finished re-reading Holidazed as I get ready for the Christmas season. So much inspiration to be found here.”

Here’s your link to HOLIDAY EASE and an EASY HOLIDAY!


Thank you all for your love and support as I pursue my writing path. Happy birthday from me to you and a very Merry Christmas!

Havoc or Haven? Rethinking Home

Cluttered closet

Havoc? Or Haven? I laugh and then groan when the Lord gives me that title, because when you sit down to write what you think you know, God has this way of making you relive it, aka God’s Refresher Course for writers and would-be know-it-alls.


So, I asked him what to tell you and he said, “Tell them the truth.”

All I could think of was Jack Nicholson’s line in the movie A Few Good Men: “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!”

I responded, “Lord, if I tell them the truth, they might never read another word I write!”

A half hour later I came across this quote: “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” Maria Rukeyser.

So here we go; if the earth opens up under our feet, it’s not my fault. (Get it – fault?) 

More than anything, I desire my house to be a haven. Over the years, wherever we’ve lived, I’ve walked and prayed over the rooms, asking God to use our home to extend His Kingdom and he has answered those prayers, although not always in the ways I expected.

Unfortunately, even in the most heavenly havens, havoc can strike. We’ve experienced our share: unemployment, sickness, family struggles, a financial crisis. I’ll spare you the details and leave it at this: If we’d just run over the dog it would have made a great country and western song.

You know what I discovered? It’s possible to experience haven even in the midst of havoc. Read more

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