Word of the Year

Does anybody know who that is there? Sneaking around the corner?


I’ll save that news because my post is about something else altogether.

It’s about this: do you ever pick a “Word of the Year” for yourself? A theme just for you for the year? If you haven’t, do it this year. Find a word that fits you and where you are in your journey. Write it on your calendar. And live it.

I thought FOR SURE mine this year would have something to do with riding horses, or rescuing animals. I’ve been hot and bothered about a horse hoarding situation in NC where many horses are suffering. For years. And years.



As it turns out, no. My word came to me the other day while I was taking my snowy morning walk among the trees with a cup of coffee.

My word of the year is HOSPITALITY.

Hospitality! What a surprise! A perky, pleasant surprise!

I live in a place where people stop by. This is different than where I lived before. And I LOVE that about this place. Neighbors and friends pop in. Maybe for 5 minutes, maybe for an hour. Maybe they are bringing something, like corn or tomatoes, or maybe they were just driving by.


I live in a place that is 30 minutes from the grocery store. This is different than where I lived before. I used to have a large store less than 5 minutes away.

That means that I have to do better and be prepared in advance.

I know so many of you are expert hostesses. You’ve had way more experience than I have. I’ve always been busy, rushing, rushing, rushing. Hostessing is not my strength. So, share your magic.

What does it take to be a good hostess? What are the elements?

Here’s what I’m thinking:

**A “clean-ish” house.

Not a spotless house, but, you know, clean-ish. I find when I visit a house that feels lived-in and cozy, it’s generally not spic and span. It feels homey when there are books, and knitting baskets, and pets, and a few dishes in the sink. It feels homey when there is a soft inviting chair with an afghan thrown across. A basket of magazines and books. A guitar beside it. A fire in the fireplace.

**Crackers and cheese.

I’d add grapes or apples, but there’s no way I can keep those on hand. Crackers and cheese are easy though. Something to munch on.


I learned last week when I had a neighbor over for soup and bread, that I was not prepared for dessert. At all. My cupboard was bare. Some FaceBook buddies gave me some wonderful suggestions for quick and easy desserts. I’m sharing some of them here so you’ll have them too.

I didn’t have the ingredients for any of these that day. But now I have made sure to fill my pantry with what is needed for some of these simple, quick desserts.

Here are some of the GREAT ideas they gave me for a quick dessert:

LEMON BARS (this recipe from Taste of Home was recommended)


1 stick of butter, 1 cup of sugar, 3/4 c of self rising flour, 3/4 c milk, 28 ounce can peaches with juice.Preheat oven to 350, add butter to glass baking dish and melt in oven while preheating. In a bowl, mix sugar with flour, add milk slowly to prevent lumps. Pour flour mixture over melted butter, do not stir. Spoon fruit on top gently, pour syrup over fruit gently, DO NOT STIR.Bake for 30-45 minutes and eat warm, cold, with or without ice cream, or just pour some heavy cream over it while just out of the oven.

CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE graham cracker crust, cooked chocolate pudding and whipped cream on top. Jiffy quick and yummy.

APPLE CRESCENTS Refrigerator crescent dough brush melted butter sprinkle brown sugar and slice apple or apple pie filling then roll up individual crescents brush with melted butter and top with brown sugar and bake! Super yummy! If not using apple pie filling then slice peeled apple thin.

OATMEAL PIE (from Jonni Lynch, here’s the link!) sounds so delicious and comforting!



(can you read that? if not, I posted it here)


GOOEY CAKE, looks yummy and easy. here’s the recipe.

and there’s always POUND CAKE. Who doesn’t enjoy good old fashioned pound cake?

Then, we need beverages.

**Coffee, tea, hot cocoa.

And, most importantly.

**Time. Not in a hurry. Time to visit. Time to sit. Time to listen. Time to share.

I had a wonderful aunt named Aunt Margie. She was a fantastic hostess. Your visit in her home would be filled with laughter and delicious food. She never wanted you to leave. And, when you did leave, you wouldn’t go empty handed. On your way out the door, she would always hand you something. It might be a cutting from a plant, or a bag of cookies, or a little vase, or a sweater.

What do you think makes a good hostess?

Now about that cat in my kitchen. Guess who that is??

It is the wild mustached cat I’ve been playing hostess to for almost a year. Progress!

Here he is, when he was on death row, about to be euthanized. He was part of a catch and kill program for feral cats:


And here he is, snuggly and warm on the sun-room couch:


(I took this photo through the window in the door. He wouldn’t have been so relaxed and comfortable if I had opened the door to take a pic.)

Oh yeah, he’s coming around.

I left the door open, upon advice I got from FaceBook, and walked away for a while. When I walked back in the kitchen, he was there, sneaking around the island. Yay, Yay, Yay, Yay. YAY!

And one final thing, I just headed to the barn on this cold, cloudy, snowy day.

And here comes the sun, Y’all!


It’s going to be good, good year. A very good, hospitable year.

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah

  1. Dear Rebekah,

    I think for me being hospitable is all about time. It isn’t so much about food, or drinks (well, maybe a cup of coffee!), but about giving my undivided attention to my guest. Not answering the phone if it rings, not looking at the clock. But being able to act like I have all the time in the world to just sit and visit. For me, because I’m not a sitter, this is very hard to do! I’d love to be folding clothes or washing dishes while I visit! So I have to force myself to JUST SIT!!! If it is expected overnight guests… THEN it is all about the food!!! 🙂

    Great post and a great word!

    Dori – the Ranch Farmgirl

    P.S. I LOVE that barn of yours! 🙂

  2. Cindy says:

    I just LOVE your blogs! I am the hostess with the mostest and you sound like you are armed and ready for company! Keep flour,sugar,brown sugar, baking powder and soda and butter on hand at all times to whip up some yummy treats! I too! Just became a farmgal about a year and a half ago in Boise ,Idaho area! We have a 26acre alphalfa field and we built a farmhouse on it! Yeeeehaaaw! We have goats,a cat we maimed Gypsy! He came through the field about 6months ago! He adopted us! He sleeps in his bed every night in the garage and loves to play with our young Brittany dogs! Ha! All that’s missing is my DREAM horse and a big red barn! I’m envious! You are so lucky! Loved your horse riding blog! I laughed my ass off! Sounds just like me! I rode when I was younger! I worked at a riding stables for a few years ,but now that Zim in my 50s ! Yikes! Alittle scared of the big guys! But can’t wait to get one this year! Take care! Your new friend, Cindy

  3. Cindy says:

    Oh I should have checked my spelling! As for the abused animals of the world! The horrible people should be subjected to the same abuse they dished out! It makes me sick too! I pray God will take care of them! I love animals so much and it’s so hard to know its out there and our hands are tied! If I witness it you can be sure I will do all in my power to help! So! Love your blogs on a cherry note! You have a terrific manner about you! Ha! We think alike and we could be great friends! Take care! From one far girl to another!

  4. Becky says:

    Wonderful post…thanks for sharing. Is.that mustache on your car real? He dldn’t know how good it was going to be when you picked him…he doesn’t look wild these days.

  5. Karen(old cowgirl) Montoya says:

    Hi Rebekah,
    I know you will get a lot of advice so I will only say how enjoyable your blogs are. The last picture you took is a picture perfect look of a quite, winter scene of a real working ranch. It is what Christmas cards have on the front of them. Special.

  6. I like what you described as a comfortable home, I like that. My hose is for from spotless, but clean enough. I have friends that tell me they like coming to my home because its cozy. What better compliment can you have? Always have a cookie jar full and that’s a good thing. Most people like a cookie with coffee or tea. Hugs Juanita farm sister # 1020

  7. Elaine says:

    My word of the year is: HEALTH! This translates into physical health of course, but also spiritual health, emotional health, financial health, health of my home and acres, health of my crittters and vehicles, health of my relationships and work. I have no resolutions to accomplish this year, but my word of the year will keep me focused on what I want and need to accomplish. I think it’s cool that you came up with your HOSPITALITY word and, independently, I came up with my HEALTH word. Maybe we could report back at the end of the year about our words of the year.

  8. Colleen says:

    What a great mustache – be very careful with your kitty tho. My feral cat thought I was trying to kill her when she got stuck in a lace tablecloth and I tried to untangle her. I wound up in the ER and now have scars in my hands! Mustache has had all his shots? Just don’t approach him if he’s upset about something. You probably know all this already, I learned the hard way! And don’t want anyone to think that it’s the cats fault- that’s just what they do. Love your pictures! Just plain ol’ love your blog! Thanks!

  9. Kim denn says:

    For as long as you have been writing this blog I have been enjoying your thoughts. Can’t thank you enough for sharing! This one really hit home. I’m always doing two to three things at a time. Gotta stop that

  10. Sandi Graham says:

    I love your word of the year! I think it’s a great one. I was just thinking this morning that I love to entertain, and I do not have people over enough. I want the type of house where people just “drop by”. I do live in the city, so I do have the comforts of a store near by. I think my word of the year might be “community”. I’ve realized that while I lived in this neighborhood for about 3 years, I do not know many neighbors. Most of my friends and family live farther away. I want to become more involved in the community and be the house where people just stop by.. Thanks for this post..

  11. Dianne says:

    I love your stories so much. I always look forward to hearing from you. I know you and your daughter love animals so much. I wonder if there isn’t a way for you to be a rescue place for horses until they get healthier and can be adopted? I think it must be wonderful having people “stop by” because they enjoy the company. Thanks so much for sharing your stories with us, they are treasures.

  12. Nancy Edwards says:

    What a wonderful word to have for 2015! I shall abscond with it as well – I think it is great to have coffee/tea and things to enjoy but the welcoming heart and the ear to listen are also needed ingredients. How often are we talking to someone and their eyes have drifted off and you can tell they are not really listening. I have my Aunt Betty who has been my model in life – she listens as though there was no one anywhere who is half as interesting as you in front of her. She really listens, she is not composing her answer or thinking of what you might say next. She is looking attentively and truly listening. And that is what I shall work towards in 2015!

  13. Debbie says:

    Howdy Rebekah! I love your word for the year! How wonderful that you live in a place where people just drop by. Your post reminded me of a dear friend of mine who has been inviting me to tea at her house for about 10 years now. She’s a busy mom of 4 and loves to bake… Lucky me, right? Well, she and I try not to go longer than two or three weeks in-between visits. In fact, we just had out two hour tea and catch up visit yesterday. When she called yesterday morning to see if I was free, we both knew the Blizzard of 2015 was on the way but we held our date and had a lovely 2 hour visit over tea and some of her delicious homemade muffins. When I left the snow flurry’s were beginning to fly, I still had to grocery shop and pick up our daughter from the bus stop but my belly was full and my soul was refreshed! As for my hospitality secrets…Let’s see? I love to have quiche, muffins or some kind of bread and fresh fruit. But if I don’t have those, I always have fixins for brownies or chocolate chip cookies…Oh, and plenty of coffee, and tea selections…Wish I lived closer, I would drop by for a little farmgirl chit chat… Hugs and love, Deb ( Beach Farmgirl )

  14. Judy aka:herblady says:

    Hi there,
    I can’t believe how far that cat has come. He’s so lucky to have you for his adopted mama! You are so lucky to have that ‘sweetie-pie’ face to look at every day!
    My word for the year is ‘teamwork’. I have been so independent in my 60 years(as of Feb 2nd)that I have trouble depending on others when I have to. It’s hard. I married at 51 to a man who was 51. We both struggle with asking for help. But, after all, teamwork has it’s rewards. It humbles, it joins us with others, it shows us how to share. All good stuff, right?
    So that’s my ‘word’… TEAM-work! I (no…WE) can do this)! Oh yes we can!

  15. Beverly says:

    Hi Rebekah…Once again you’ve written such an inspirational post !! I’m glad you’ve embraced the country lifestyle so fully! While I don’t live in the country(but pray that one day I will) I hope I’ll be as joyful as you!! Awww…I love Mr. Moustache(he looks like Groucho…lol). Animals have always been a huge part of my life and I couldn’t imagine my life without them!! Thanks again for sharing your life with us!

    P.S. My 2015 word for the year is compassion 🙂

  16. Denise Ross says:

    Hi Rebekah,
    I did a word last year for the first time, it was Intentional and i think I followed through on it. It’s still a work in progress and I think for this year I have four that are popping into my head at the moment, faith, community, grace and hospitality. I do want to invite friends in for coffee and meals but also have them feel free to drop in. I work full time and my husband is a nurse who does shift work. We have three kids who all live at home, my oldest in his second year of university, my daughter In Her final year of high school and my youngest son in year 4. So I guess life isn’t quite the way I’d love it to be but I would like my home to be cosy, comforting and inviting. I’ve always baked, that’s the way I was brought up so I tend to have goodies in my cupboards, but my finances have been the restricting thing over the last few years and I’ve allowed them to dictate hospitality which I’d like to change. So for me this year I’d like my door to be open. My ears open and my heat open to others, no matter who they are. I think I’ve figured my word out in all this rambling, it’s Open. Have a wonderful day. I’ll email you a receipe that is no fail and a treasure that my mother taught me. I’ve never seen it in a receipe book to date and my mother passed away some years ago, so it’s super special to me. Enjoy your hospitality this year
    Hugs from Australia x

  17. Marge Hofknecht says:

    Lovely word: hospitality. It does take much effort to be hospitable. You’ve got to think about others and put yourself in their places. It means allowing others space and time to relax and to unwind and to be blessed. Your piece has gotten me to thinking: what word should I choose for this year, 2015? I would say, “organize” but I’m always doing that and will continue to do so. But I think for me, my “one word” would have to come in three: cherish each day. I’ve had a number of friends who recently have experienced death in their families and hearing of each one has made me think more of the preciousness of life and how each day is truly a gift from God. Thank you for your thought-provoking blog entry.

  18. susana says:

    first went to Europe, in 1971….is when I first learned what hospitality really meant…it blew me away. There, you didnt need an invite … and you were asked to come right into their kitchen and they would serve you all kinds of things to eat and drink (depending on the time of day)! If you were relate or not! They would treat you the same. I was impressed by their generosity in their hospitality. They would go out of their way to be kind in their hospitality. It was so strange to me, as I never felt welcomed any where in school, my neighborhood or church.

  19. susana says:

    Sorry, the response went before I was completed…..
    But in Europe, it seemed like….they were in another time and
    Planet, as they were so overjoyed to make my acquaintance. And they offered do much of their time and hospitality, that I felt that time stood still. Plus the food and company was so easy to enjoy. And they had a variety of goodies to eat. And if they weren’t to my liking, they sent someone yo the nearest bakery to buy something more desirable or less sweet. Hard not to be a diabetic there….everyone had a big stomach. But that was not a concern. They enjoy life to its fullness. They would sit for hours and talk of everything and anything. They never seemed to want to end a visit, but when your visiting’ you know you have to eave eventually. But if it gets too late, they even ask you to spend the night….usually because your too intoxicated to walk away.,..lol. but they ask you to stay the night, and even feed you a meal before your/n hour/way go your destination. And if you miss your connection, even offered to drive you there. One time we missed our flight to England, and they paid the cost . I didnt believe it. And another time even paid for the visit of a train so we wouldn’t miss another flight because they –talked our ears off! Lol. They felt hospitality was More important. It was so easy to like people ho were do hospitable. I guess its one reason by I love Europeans, and Iive Europe. Because everyone is do friendly….. my husband says its because were so friendly. I think its because were from similar/backgrounds. I’m from country background….the farming background… Down to earth. But I think has to do with how I was raised and like people are attracted to like characters. I have Alway believed in hospitality….going the/extra mile was part of being a Christian…

  20. Amanda says:

    I love the post, love the barn picture, and love the mustache! Most of all, I love the idea of a word of the year. I never thought of that before. May I borrow your word until I find my own? A dear friend of mine is coming to visit me next month(we haven’t seen each other in three years!) and I want to be super hospitable! With kids involved, things should be interesting! I know definitly coffee(and hot chocolate), and maybe I’ll make chocolate biscotti. People where I live don’t visit, work is always more important, so when someone does come, I like to make a big deal! Your stories always come along just when I need some inspiration! Thank you for being you!!

  21. Brenda Towsley says:

    Testing….Testing Set up a Gmail account advised by our local computer tech to see if this will work so my comments show up. So I have came back and read this post that I had missed along the way. Our home is the family hub. Everyone comes here for most of the family gatherings so I have gotten better at it. I think you have it, be prepared. Having things prepared ahead of time and do not stress about your home or you will not enjoy the time with others as much. Years ago I thought I had to spend days cleaning. Now I just ask Jeff to clean one bathroom and I clean the other. Pick up, vacuum. I picked a word one year. I think I could just pick that same word every year. My word was Peace. It was a year of unrest in about 1/2 our family so there were prayers on peace and hopes of peace. I think my word this year should be finish though. I have so many unfinished projects I should finish and not start one more. So if you could let me know how this test went!

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