About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

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  1. I’m so intrigued by the idea of writing our own endings in this journey of hospitality. Life gets so busy and full, but I never want to crowd out the people who keep my door slamming and happy!

  2. Jen,
    I was literally laughing out loud recalling memories of our screen door growing up. I fondly recall, too, the “thwack” of it slamming shut and my mother yelling, “In or out? Pick one.” Fast forward many years and we had a flooring contractor give us an estimate on refinishing our hardwood floors in my home. “Boy, ma’am, these floors have seen some wear and tear,” was his comment. I thought of all my kids’ friends gathering at our house as it was the place to be. Roller blades, against my edict, rolling across the floor to the bathroom for breaks in roller hockey games. Tween girls having dance offs in the kitchen with the “Backstreet Boys” blaring in the background. Two black lab mixes and a beagle, gaining traction on the wood floor, when the doorbell would ring. Small groups hovering ’round the counter talking and laughing before the Bible study or meeting began. I hope I leave a legacy like your parents left you. What better legacy than having a door, that strangers and friends alike, know is always open? My attitude is sign your initials in the dust on my coffee table, and come on in. It hasn’t always been this way, but God’s been good (and patient) to teach me. Can’t wait to read the next chapters….congrats’!!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

  3. You are a talented writer, I look forward to reading the next two chapters when I get a breather from the readings from this Masters. Reading for fun, what I wouldn’t do to be able to do that soon!
    Blessings
    Jas

  4. In just a few short paragraphs you brought back memories of my own childhood. Friends coming and going and Sunday dinners seem to be a thing of the past but my parents made it look easy. I moved this past September and my goal is to open my door often to others. It is something I am working on but when God calls us to love our neighbors he didn’t say, “ your house needs to look perfect.” Thank you for writing what is on my heart.

  5. I know this is an odd take on this, but I think about Zacchaeus when I think about inviting people to my home. Zacchaeus went to see Jesus never expecting Him to say, “hey, I’m coming over today.” Yet, Zacchaeus came down from the tree and and was excited to have Jesus as a guest. I probably would have worried about the dishes I left undone or the clothes on the floor of the laundry room. I would be asking myself if my house is good enough? Instead, I should be asking is my heart right.

    • Absolutely Patrice – I actually talk about this in the chapter, “The Uncomfortable Yes” because so many people fear the drop in guest, yet Jesus was the ultimate drop in, wasn’t He?

  6. Oh my, you’ve got my wheels spinning, Jennifer. I grew up completely opposite but crave this sort of connection and the slam of our door. When I was in my late teens/early twenties, I shared Sunday evening volleyball games at a friend of a friend’s who opened his yard to a large group of us. I’ve missed those relaxed yet meaningful meetings. Your post is a confirmation to prayerfully consider what I’ve wanted to do for you years…open our door AND our yard. As always, I’m inspired by your posts and excited to read more. Congrats on the release of your first book and thank you!

  7. Jen you have reminded me of much! We lived near our pop pop and a few aunts and uncles in one small bay shore town. I’m the second of seven so I had the duty to babysit and love on the cousins amongst my own siblings.. on Sunday afternoon pop did the spaghetti & meatball dinner for everyone! Families & neighbor alike.. door slamming WAS the way and since it was the back door it was also near a huge mulberry tree that generated flys in large numbers!! I do miss those days but my mom did the same and I am trying to make it work but families are estranged in my life so I’ve moved onto my neighbors and church family.. it’s a joyful life especially when Jesus is in the center of it all.. my husbands grown to love this lifestyle and sometimes does the inviting himself! He helps the prep time and has become quite the conversationalist:) God bless your heart and all those who follow His commands to love their neighbors as themselves…We can trust His Word to be faithful and true! Slam!

  8. Jennifer,

    Growing up I didn’t have the kind of life you did. Not many friends. We moved a bunch & my parents kept to themselves. I understand the idea of hospitality. You never know who you can reach for Christ by just having them over for a meal or just a talk. I get blessed often by being asked to come share a meal with others. I enjoy it. My belief is it builds strong friendships. I’ve seen people invite college students-especially foreign ones to dinners often. This is all about being the hands & feet of Jesus. One should not mind the state of their house, but be willing to be open almost any time.

    Blessings 🙂