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When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We will enjoy and appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food and drinks. We would also like a clean bathroom and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest.

Giving a party, of any type, requires a great deal of work. If you have been fortunate enough to be included in a festive soiree, it is nice to arrive with a gift for the hostess. The typical present will cost between $15-$30, but there are less expensive things you can find at the local discount store.

Attire: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture


Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for your party, make it clear. Do not let your creative thoughts have you writing a description that requires an interpreter.  We do not want to force our guests to solve a riddle to understand what is expected of them. There is a phrase I like to quote, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

There is something special we feel when we receive an invitation. It is the anticipation of a celebration, the excitement of choosing what to wear, but more importantly, it is the affirmation that tells us, “I was chosen!” We know a hostess has responsibilities to ensure her party is a success, but did you know there are expectations of the guests? And your first job begins when you receive an invitation that says RSVP.

Do you believe there is a creator behind this painting, or did it create itself? I believe if I polled 1,000 people, 100% would say, “Of course, there is a creator. That’s common sense.” Do you believe there is a Creator behind this picture? If I polled 1,000 people with the same question, stats show I would not receive 100% agreement that there was a Creator behind this picture.

People are returning to work, which means many of us will be navigating changes that would otherwise seem mundane. Elevator etiquette? Did you know there was such a thing? Below are 9 basic reminders when riding the lift. I have thrown in a few exceptions while we live in a COVID world. 

Throughout history we have seen God place people in power that made us say, “What is He thinking?” Yet God clearly reminds us in Isaiah that the way He thinks is far beyond what we can sometimes understand. In a child’s eyes, a parent giving her yucky medicine when she already feels poorly can seem cruel. “Why would Mommy make me take this?” The child lives in her “here and now” moment of life, yet the parent sees the big picture. The mother knows what is best for the child, even when the child does not understand. 

Our 4-part series on living as Christians in a political world was written in response to questions I have been receiving on knowing how to separate truth from lies, when to engage in our political system, and the most effective way to stay informed. In Part 1 we learned the biblical formula for seeking truth. In Part 2 we discussed the importance of knowing your foundation. In this post, Part 3, I will provide you with 7 practical tips I use to find truth in our news driven world. 

We are living in a time where many do not know who or what to believe. It seems our national 24-hour news media seeks ratings more than they seek truth (regardless of which way their bias leans). Many journalists receive bonuses based on how many clicks their story receives, and companies earn more advertising revenue if they can show a high click-through rate on articles. It has become too common to read endless bait-and-switch headlines.

“How do I know what is real? How do I know truth when I see it? I want to stay informed, but where do I turn when I feel every news source is somehow deceiving me?”

Giving you tips on hosting a Halloween party during COVID is sure easier than tackling subjects on news, politics, and finding truth. Yet these are the questions filling my inbox. 

Does this blog seem early? Did you know we only have 10 weeks before we move into December? It is time to start planning!
1. Decide how much you can spend. If you have a $500 budget and 10 people you need to give gifts, then you can only spend $50 a person.

Halloween in 2020 will be different than past years, but there are still ways to enjoy this festive start to the holiday season. This blog may seem early, but October 31st is only 7 weeks away! It is time to start planning. Below are my top 10 ideas for a jovial and happy start to your fall celebrations.

Decor Ideas:
1. Use a decorative wine bucket filled with flowers as your table centerpiece. This works if you have a separate table where you will place the food. If the wine tasting is conducted at one table where your guests are sitting, then you need lower height decorations where everyone can see over the arrangements. Use wine glasses randomly placed down the table with sprigs of flowers in them. 

  • Rebecca Steinbach

5 Tips for Husbands Who Travel

My husband travels frequently for work, often to other countries, traversing time zones and cultures. This presents a challenge to our connectedness and family life. Over time, we have developed some practices that make the travel schedule work for our family. Here are 5 tips that can help a wife feel supported and valued even when her husband is not physically present.

1. Include her in the planning process when possible. For example, if you know a work trip needs to happen but the date is somewhat flexible, ask your wife for input. “Should I leave this day or the next day?” “Which week would be better for you?” “What are the dates for school events I can’t miss?” These conversations will make your wife feel heard and prioritized over work.

2. Call or text her once a day while traveling. A two-minute phone call is better than no phone call at all! A quick check-in will help you both feel more connected and help you stay up to date on the events of the week once you return home. When you choose to take time out of your busy day to check in on things at home, your wife will feel chosen and less alone.

3. Hire help when you can. It is a lot for one parent to take on all responsibility on a daily basis. Talk about your budget and what kind of help would be most beneficial for your situation. This could be getting a housekeeper, an afternoon homework helper, a meal service, grocery delivery, or a nanny. Just because your wife can do something (like cook or be the math tutor) does not mean it is always the best use of her time and energy. When you are not traveling, make family time a priority. The trade-off is worth it to hire a yard guy, handyman, or mechanic to eliminate things from your own weekend to-do list. You may be taking money out of your bank account, but you will be investing a great deal more into your family. Finding help to assist you with your chores frees up time to reconnect with your wife and kids.

4. Encourage her to schedule breaks and be social. If you know ahead of time that you will be gone several nights in a row, that is a great opportunity for your wife to find a sitter for one evening and take the night off. It could be a ladies’ night out or just time alone at a coffee shop while someone else takes care of bedtime. A few hours “off-duty” is refreshment for the soul!

5. Lastly, you can encourage your wife by loving on your kids even from a distance. You can record video messages or send pictures specifically for them. Or have your kids pick a favorite stuffed animal that can make the trip with Dad and who makes appearances in photos. If you ever see my husband photographing a dolphin beanie-boo in the business class lounge, just know there are three little girls at home feeling very loved!

By being intentional about your time and working together, it is possible to stay connected as a family and create some sweet family memories amidst a busy schedule.

Rebecca Steinbach

“In the Trenches” Contributing Writer

Wife, Mother of 3 girls, and avid travel planner!

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