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Community Thoughts

Service or Solidarity?

The work we do in the non-profit world can easily be seen as an act of service. However, I’ve been challenged lately to shift my thinking to looking at it as an act of solidarity. Service implies a vertical relationship. Solidarity implies a horizontal, “we’re in this together” kind of relationship. In the spirit of empowerment, solidarity jives much more with me.

Community Thoughts Video

A Little Encouragement

I really don’t talk politics or even post about any former or current presidents, however, these words were such an encouragement in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic. My favorite quote…

We cannot allow physical separation to become emotional isolation.

This time of social distancing has reminded me just how powerful a hug, a handshake, and human interaction is. It feeds the soul in unexplainable ways. I’m looking forward to the day when we can interact freely again without the worry of spreading a virus. It’s not the same, but here’s a virtual hug to all of you today!

Community Thoughts

Corona Blues

Anyone else feel like they’ve hit a new level of stir crazy this week? If you have, you’re not alone. I’ve talked to so many people who are feeling it. Emma Grace asked if there’s a different family she could quarantine with. I’ve felt an antsy-ness and irritability this week. Even our dog seems to be mopey. We’re all feeling it. But I think it’s normal. Many people are in the same boat.

I watch the numbers every day. At over 850,000 cases in the US and over 2.6 million worldwide, it feels surreal. When will this end? I talked to a travel nurse yesterday and was asking her some questions about what it’s like being in healthcare right now. Her answer? It’s crazy. This is no hoax. It’s real. She went on to tell me about a friend of hers working as a critical care nurse in New York City right now. She said, “I video chatted with her on the phone the other day. She didn’t even look like the same person. She’s so stressed and overwhelmed right now.”

And so we press on in lockdown, shelter-in-place, quarantine, whatever you’re choosing to call it, because this is real, and it isn’t over. Guys, we can do this, because human life is valuable.

Apparently, in the last quarter, Netflix got 15.8 million new subscribers worldwide. Whoa. If you’re looking for a new Netflix show to watch, we recently thoroughly enjoyed The Stranger, Unorthodox, and The English Game.

Africa Community creativity Hospitality Ministry Travel

reverie guesthouse

oasis6

In the beginning of last year, I started a new little venture in the world of guesthouse businesses. I never really aspired to do something like this, but I’m so glad I did. I realized how much I love creating inviting spaces filled with beautiful things that make people smile. One of my favorite things is to see people’s reaction as they walk in and {positively} comment on the space.

January 2016, I listed BEAUTIFUL ARTSY AFRICAN RETREAT on Airbnb. I was ready for business! We didn’t get a booking until March. I wondered if this was a good idea after all. I didn’t get into this for my own sake.

I did it to provide an income for others while at the same time teaching business skills and imparting my high standard for excellence in everything you do.

oasis10

I did it to invite people of all walks of life to come to this place where we invite Jesus to abide. Our strict policy from the beginning has been that we don’t discriminate against ANYONE.

And, unashamedly, I did it to make money. Is a business successful if it doesn’t make any money? We have a beautiful property here in S. Africa. It’s a win win to use our space to make a little extra rands for running costs.

I guess all we needed was a booking to get the momentum going.

By July, because of the number of trips we had hosted and our excellent ratings, we had risen to Superhost status (and have maintained it since).

oasis7

In October, we added our second listing, BEAUTIFUL OASIS IN THE AFRICAN BUSH (these photos are a glimpse of that space).

Sometime, in the last quarter of 2016, our two listings made it to the top two spots when you google top White River Airbnb accommodations.

By December 31st, 2016, we had hosted 130 guests from 20 nations!

As I review my reasons for getting into this, I’m pleased that I’m right on track as we enter our second year. I’m so glad I get to do this guesthouse thing with this lovely lady who constantly makes me laugh and amazes me with her growth posture and shared drive to make a space that is clean, clean, clean.

smile!

We’ve certainly hosted people from all walks of life! One night we had a husband and wife Muslim couple staying with us who said one of the best things they loved about staying at our place was the people (we do have a pretty spectacular bunch) and how it’s always great to meet people like us. The very next night we had a gay Jewish couple stay with us who thanked us for our warm hospitality. I believe Jesus calls us to be a lover of people, and I’m so glad that people who meet us for the first time feel that when they sleep in our beds.

And we did make money! It’s always nice to recoup your startup costs AND make money on top of that.

Here’s to a successful 2016 and an even better 2017!

Community creativity Fun

a bar of a party

The beginning of April we celebrated our interns who had been with us for a year and who were now moving on to the next season of their lives. Because of their incredible investment, we knew we wanted to celebrate BIG. That’s when the idea of “bars” all around came into being. We had a pizza bar, soda bar, and cupcake bar. It.was.a.blast.

Pizza Bar

Pizza Bar

We sealed pizza dough in plastic baggies and had everything prepped and sliced. The fun part about the pizza bar was that we baked our pies on the fire. They tasted amazing. Here’s how we did it.

  1. Grab a wooden cutting board and oil it down with olive oil.
  2. Plop your dough down on it, and work it into a pizza crust.
  3. Slide it onto the fire, and let it cook for a few minutes.
  4. Take it off the fire, sliding it back onto your cutting board, cooked side up.
  5. Load the cooked side up with your toppings.
  6. Slide it back onto the fire and let it cook another few minutes.
  7. Eat and enjoy.

Pizza Bar Toppings

Soda Bar

Soda Bar

Soda Bar Instructions

For drinks we put together a soda bar. We had Coke and Coke Zero and homemade Cream Soda. THEN people had the option of adding cherry, vanilla, orange, or lemon simple syrup to it. We also had lemons and limes that you could squeeze in for extra measure.

Coke

Cream Soda

Cupcake Bar

Pimp Your Cupcake

Finally, for dessert, we offered a cupcake bar where everyone could pimp out their own cupcake. We had chocolate, vanilla, Italian creme, and red velvet cupcakes with vanilla, chocolate, cream cheese, and mocha frostings. Not only that but we had sprinkles, coconut, and nuts for more pimping!

This party was such fun. The best part about it was that everyone cooked their own food!