Monday, February 17, 2014

On Hospitality

I wrote yesterday about the fun "coincidences" that really aren't coincidences that have been happening in my life lately. I was invited to a women's study called "The Home Experience" by someone who had no idea of my passion for making my home a haven and even teaching on the topic. So, of course, I jumped at the chance and took some wonderful wisdom away from the first meeting.

One of the topics discussed was hospitality, and once again perfect timing as my family was getting ready to entertain at our house just two days later. I loved what one of the leaders of the study said, it was something along the lines of "Don't wait for that new sofa or the bigger house to entertain, they are coming to see you, not your house." Isn't that the truth! Yet, even though we know that, we still can find ourselves comparing our home with others and if we fall into that mindset, let's face it, our home will never measure up in this "Pinterest" world.

If I had let the fact that I have a smaller house compared to pretty much all of my friends stand in the way of entertaining, then I think of the wonderful birthday parties I would have missed out on hosting, the fun playdates with girlfriends and their kids and wonderful meals prepared by my husband to enjoy with another family. Not only would I have missed out on all of these experiences, but my children would have missed out on the chance to learn hospitality and how to make a guest feel welcome in our home.

God created us for real fellowship and in today's society some of us have replaced that real fellowship with Facebook and other ways of interacting that are not intimate and don't feed our souls. Don't get me wrong, Facebook can be a great way to keep up with friends (I personally enjoy it) but it simply cannot replace real intimate fellowship that our soul craves. 

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Hebrews 10:25

I've prepared a little list of things that you can do to prepare for a guest, if you do a little planning then there is no reason to stress!

-Plan a menu ahead of time and grocery shop. If cooking is too stressful then plan to have pizzas with salad and a store bought dessert. It is not about the food it is about the fellowship. 

-Give the guest bathroom a good cleaning.

-Sweep, vacuum and tidy up the rooms where you will be entertaining.

-Make sure there is ample seating for the guests you've invited. I've had to get creative with this at times, like bringing a bench into the den from the kitchen for Harrison's birthday party and borrowing a table for Haley's tea party as seen in the photos above.

-Set the mood with lighting, candles, soft music and fresh flowers are a nice touch.

-Have your kids make a welcome sign with the guest's name for the front door.

-Set the expectations for your children's behavior and how they should to greet the guests on arrival.

-Let your children get involved in the process. Haley recently made her first homemade strawberry two layer cake when we had a family over for Valentines Day. I am also letting the kids take "ownership" of their domain. I let them clean and tidy their rooms before the guests arrive. 

-Greet your guests at the door and walk them out when they are leaving. 

-Stop apologizing for your less than perfect house!

-Enjoy yourself!

I hope this encourages some of you to invite friends over. If you are feeling that your house really is in too bad of shape to invite anyone in, then consider going through my seven week plan to a clean and clutter-free home called The Intentional Home. Click here for the Table of Contents. 

Many Blessings,

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