Serve others.

posted in: homemaking 3

Organize your attitude #19

by Allison Burr of

My husband and I recently purchased a home that provides us the opportunity to pretend we are Innkeepers, something we have dreamed about becoming since we were married in a bed and breakfast 16 years ago. We have since stayed in B&Bs around the country, mentally filing away information for future use.

Our new home, as God would ordain it, is letting us implement a bit of that vision we have held fast to since our wedding day, and it has simultaneously kicked my organizational muscles into high gear.

For the past 120 days, I have spent dozens and dozens of hours deciding how to set up the living and sleeping quarters, the kitchenette, and the theatre. I have purchased (and returned) different sets of towels, bedding, dishes, chairs, appliances, lighting fixtures, décor, flooring, and more. It has been a labor of love, and one that we pray will result in great fruit in years to come.

There is nothing quite so satisfying as functioning as a trinitarian micro-creator: making plans, accomplishing them, and applying this space for the enjoyment of others. Our house is to be a place where we can serve others.

Right alongside this deeply rooted joy, however, are many challenges ranging from logistical and budgetary limitations to the physical and emotional exhaustion of setting up what amounts to two new households.

Reflecting on these past months, I see three general principles that have been learned afresh and will likely be re-learned in the months and years ahead.

Lesson #1: The barrage of details implicit in innkeeping requires a weekly review.

Managing receipts, deliveries, food storage, correspondence with future guests, coordination of dates, menu-planning, a relevant database of local attractions – the minutia would quickly overwhelm me, were it not for a reliable process of information organization as well as a predictably consistent weekly review. (Thank you, Simplified Organization!)

To be better able to serve others, I need to stay on top of the details, which is what a weekly review is all about.

Lesson #2: The hard work of building family routines pays off in spades.

I have become increasingly grateful for the many hours (and many tears) invested in building consistent family chore routines. I have spent countless Saturday mornings teaching my four kids how to strip sheets, bring towels and sheets to the washer, and then remake their beds a couple hours later – yes, even that dratted fitted sheet!

It’s been an exhaustingly repetitious task for them and for me.

The same goes for vacuuming, emptying trash cans, and picking up bedroom floors so they earn the classification of tidy. How much easier (and how much quicker!) it would have been this past decade if I’d done all these chores myself.

But now I can see the fruit right in front of me: changing sheets from several beds, washing loads of towels, and “turning” the room so it’s ready for new guests – these would have been insurmountable tasks for my little crew of helpers, were it not for our imperfect consistency of learning cleaning routines.

Lesson #3: Organization is ultimately about service for others and unto God.

This is certainly the hardest lesson for me to learn but the one with the most eternal impact. My husband has had to remind me that The Pilgrim’s Inn (our name for our quasi-bed & breakfast) will be a space for others, rather than merely an extension of my own household.

Our home is designed to bless them, edify them, equip them for their own future service in the Kingdom. God gave me gifts of organization, administration and hospitality for the purpose of blessing others.

A tidy home with streamlined processes are not an end in itself. Rather, those systems make for lubricated rails so that the trains might run smoothly and on time, allowing us to serve others to the best of our ability.

A tidy home with streamlined processes are not an end in itself. Rather, those systems allow us to better serve others.

I am learning to delight in the opportunity to provide a beautiful and comfortable living experience – without controlling the details of how this experience actually happens. Because when one round of guests leave, it will be brought back to neutral, only to be prepared for another round.

These are tools. Beautifully designed tools, yes. But merely tools serving creatures made in the image of a living God. The guests will always trump the tools, and that is precisely the lesson I imagine I will be learning over and over (and over) again, in the upcoming years at The Pilgrim’s Inn, as well as in my own home.

You can learn more about Allison’s heart for pilgrims and podcasts over at

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3 Responses

  1. Stephanie
    | Reply

    I loved this. My friends find a refuge in my home to refresh from their journeys. They love watching our small flock of birds and the difference in our eggs and store bought.

  2. Shehla
    | Reply

    What a fantastic avenue to express your unique gifts and talents, Mystie. The Inn is a beautiful idea. May it all come together even better and faster than you imagined. Thanks for your always inspiring posts!

  3. Shehla
    | Reply

    I’m sorry – I just reread that it was by Allison. Thank you, Allison. I very much enjoyed reading that.

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