April 14, 2010

Hospitality- It's Not An Option!

Thursday, I went grocery shopping. For some of you that may not be very impressive. But for me, going to the grocery store is an amazing act of love and sacrifice. Actually, I hate shopping of any sort, in case you didn't know that, but grocery shopping even more. So much so, now this is just between us, that for about six months now my husband has done the grocery shopping almost exclusively. He says it's worth his while to not have me in a crabby mood after hunting, gathering, carting, lugging, and unpacking while thinking of the outrageous cost of it all. Why then did I drag myself out into the jungle?

The same reason that we are scrubbing toilets

Changing sheets

Ironing napkins

Setting the table

Baking
baking
and more baking
...and putting out soaps, catching up the laundry, washing the windows, airing out the house, sweeping the floor, vacuuming, etc.

Because in 4hours 44minutes and 59seconds...

Aunt Dawn will be here!

Our family likes to work hard to make things nice for guests. Whether they are coming for an hour, a day or a week. We don't do this to impress them. No one who has known us for any length of time would be fooled anyway.  We do it to make those we love feel special. We do it because we want them to know we think they're worth it. We want their time in our home to be a respite from the rest of the world.

Ladies often tell me they don't have the gift of hospitality. As if that is an excuse for falling short in our responsibilities as hostesses. And while others may be more talented, just as some are more talented in art, or hairdressing, or baking, it is not a good reason but rather an excuse to fail in this command from God.  1Peter 4:9 tells us, "Use hospitality one to another without grudging." 

Not everyone is the best cook, but anyone can pick up a prepared meal from the grocery store. Not everyone has an artist eye for decorating their home just right but everyone can vacuum the rugs and light a candle. 

Abraham did not live in a fancy house but rather a tent. However when the Lord made an unexpected visit to Abraham, he immediately scurried about preparing the best he had to offer. And that is what God is asking us as hostesses to do. To offer to our family, the brethren, and the world we have been called to minister to the best we have at our disposal. 
"And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, And said, My LORD, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetch a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it.And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat."  Genesis 18:1-8

Furthermore, I challenge you to not stop at offereing your best but to take it one step further yet and improve upon your best.  Find ways to grow in the areas you fall short. Get a new cookbook or ask a friend to teach you how to prepare some of her favorite recipes. Get a book from the library on home decorating and incorporate one or two simple ideas. Make note of the things you find enticing when visiting hotels, spas, restaurants, and other people's homes and find ways to incorporate those into your home when you have a guest arriving. 

Here are some things that are simple to do but will add an elegant welcoming touch to any home or room:

For the Weekend Guest
  • Use the opportunity to give the room your guest will be staying in a thorough spring of fall cleaning. Don't forget to air the pillows and wash those windows. 
  • Light a candle in the room your guest will be staying in.
  • Place fresh towels on the bed like elegant hotels do. Don't forget those little bottles of shampoo and soap you saved from your last vacation. 
  • Try to include things that would make you feel comfortable when you are away from home. Such as a bottle of water, alarm clock, a fan, magazines and books, an extra blanket, extra pillow, a radio etc.
  • Have some relaxing music playing when your guests arrives.
  • Plan meals that will suit your guest taste and prepare as much ahead of time as possible so that you can enjoy spending time with your company. I have a repertoire of easy yet elegant recipes that I can pull out when guests are expected. 
 Friends stopping by for dinner?
  • Set a special table. In our house all the children like to have an opportunity to set the most special table they can whether it is for a quick family breakfast together or a special holiday feast. 
  • Baking is not your gift? Pick up something tasty from the bakery for dessert.
  • Look for objects around the house to make a centerpiece suited to your theme.
  • Not the best cook? Stick with a simple meal or pick up some carry out from a favorite restaurant. Also, many grocery stores offer gourmet meals that need only be popped in the oven.
  • Light some candles.
  • Put on some soft music.
  • Little touches like making your lemonade with soda water for a fizzy treat and serving it in stem wear go a long way for adding elegance.
 Guests With Children

Guests with young children require a little extra attention to make sure that everyone has a relaxed time.
  • Have a place for the children to play without constant supervision.
  • Talk to your own children ahead of time about making their little guest feel welcome. For example if the guest wants the toy, they get it. No questions asked.
  • As much as possible let the parents time in your home be a time of rest and relaxation rather then a stressful time of trying to keep junior out of trouble...
....after all, that's what hospitality is all about. 


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7 comments :

  1. Thank you for the reminder. I had a conversation with a friend yesterday about this very subject. It is definitely an area I need improvement (and encouragement) in.

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  2. This is a great post! We're going to be having a family stay with us in June that we've never met. They are attending a conference in Sevierville and wanted to stay with families in the area to save on hotel bills. I met them through the quiverfull digest I get via email. They have 7 children around my children's ages. We're looking forward to it! And these are great ideas to keep in mind.

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  3. Y'all have always me feel *very* welcome whenever I've come into town. :)

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  4. LOVE this post!
    My inlaws, plus our niece/nephew are coming down tomorrow to 'surprise' the kids! While it's 'just family' in most peoples eyes.. today and part of tomorrow I'll be busy preparing for their arrival and stay. (plus it doesn't hurt to earn a few brownie pts with the in-laws) :)

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  5. I LOVE the way Aedan sets the table :D The only addition I would add to your post is that in the midst of all the cleaning and cooking and ... not to become so stressed about everything being perfect that you forget to enjoy your post. I used to get so tired out that I really didn't want them to come by that time!

    My latest endeavor is becoming more comfortable with baking. Just a little bit before my in-laws arrived I pulled fresh baked cookies out of the oven. They loved having them when they got here ... Although I feel guilty about feeding my pop-in-law sugar!

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  6. My dear sister, Diann, raises a good point I should have thought to mention. Don't get stressed. Note the beginning where I said, "My family ENJOYS getting ready for guests. Take your time and make it fun. 1Peter 4:9 tells us, "Use hospitality one to another without grudging." Note "without grudging". It should be a joy to serve others through hospitality. Thanks for pointing that out, sis!

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  7. Hi, Thanks for stopping by my blog this week! I'm with you....I detest the grocery store! I see it as a necessary evil! My husband loves to grocery shop and cook when he has the time. I wish he could do both ALL the time!

    Love your blog!

    Blessings, Leslie

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