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Hospitality and Entertaining

May 30, 2010

are not the same. How about that? My nose is still in the book I mentioned in a previous post, “Open Heart, Open Home” by Karen Mains and it’s blessing my socks off!

Don and I have never been big entertainers. He tends to find branching out beyond our own family tree a stretching experience. I always thought I liked to entertain with big get-togethers, but have come to realize I much prefer a small crowd – say 1 or 2 or maybe 4. Plus us. Four plus us is plenty most of the time if they aren’t related to us. Are you like me? Feeling like there are so many things to worry about, to try to pull off if you get brave and invite someone into your home? Dirty floors, unscrubbed bathrooms, decor that wouldn’t ever grace a magazine cover, food that might or might not turn out as planned and all ready to bring to the table at the same time. My husband is usually content with very little company, but I’ve been held back by worry and fret over making everything just so. Or pride.

Finding out, from Karen’s book, that entertaining and hospitality are not the same was encouraging and freeing. She states that ‘entertaining’ is based on pride. Pride in how your home looks, your culinary skills, what dishes and tableware and furniture, etc. you may own.

‘Hospitality’ is more of an attitude of opening your heart and making people feel welcome, whether that’s at a restaurant over coffee, or on your back porch with paper plates, or a New Years Eve party. It’s making them feel welcome when you’ve invited them over and had time to prepare, or the doorbell rings and the house is looking very lived in. She reminds us ‘we share more than food around a table; we share life and being.’

If you are like me, a bit hesitant to open your doors (and sometimes your heart) and invite others in, if you worry over the table setting or the menu or such (and don’t most of us most of the time), this book might be a good read for you. It’s been a real eye opener for me; it’s made me feel much more ready to invite our new neighbors in, on the spur of the moment, for some time around a table as we open our hearts and begin to share our lives. I don’t love entertaining, but I can do hospitality!

We’re thinking there might be a couple or two, living near us, with no plans for Memorial Day.  I’ve got strawberries in the freezer, and sweet tea, and I’m excited to see who God might send our way.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 30, 2010 4:25 pm

    I read Karen’s book many years ago Bev. I’m much like your husband – content to just let it be the two of us and family. I do find that small groups are so much nicer, and when I do step out of my comfort zone and invite another couple here, I am so glad I did!
    I’ve thought about you with the heat having finally settled in. I’m sure being right by the lake makes it much more bearable. Early morning and evenings are so pleasant.
    Have a wonderful holiday weekend.

  2. May 30, 2010 4:56 pm

    That is a great distinction. My way of hospitality is to make sure the bathroom is clean and close all the other doors. If the company comes in the evening … even better since the lights will be low. And if we can sit outside in the middle of the day, Yippee!

    By the way, if you look out your front window right now, I am the person jumping up and down and waving my arms, “pick me! pick me!” I am yelling. Sigh … if only we lived in the same neighborhood … er, state 🙂

    Have a happy Memorial Day.

  3. Susan permalink
    May 30, 2010 6:06 pm

    That sounds like a great book Bev. I am going to have to pick it up!
    I hope you & Don enjoy your 1st Memorial Day at the lake! I was reminiscing on Friday, as I saw all the campers & boats leaving town, of my younger days when we would be pulling out of town to go to Pueblo Resv for boating & camping over this week-end. But as Jer & I have aged (or become wiser), we stay at home & BBQ with Family on this busy week-end & leave the crowds to others. Where Jer grew up, everyone headed to their lake house on this week-end. How lucky you & Don are that you get to live at your lake house year round! Enjoy your week-end & I hope God sends some wonderful neighbors your way!
    And please let me know how you freeze strawberries – mine never last in the fridge! Thanks for sharing!

  4. May 30, 2010 7:39 pm

    Becky – I choose you. Even if we’re states apart.

    Update: We’ve gotten our first invite – our neighbors rode over on their golf cart and invited us to ‘drop over sometime this weekend, after it’s not hot’. That’s all the specifics we got, I told them I’d bring a pie, so we’re choosing tonight – dusk, to mosey over and savor the very first beginnings of a new friendship.

  5. May 30, 2010 8:32 pm

    Yeah, Bev–good for you! That books sounds terrific–I may have to pick it up myself! As a recovering perfectionist, I have had to redefine what it means to have people over. I have had to remember what I enjoy most when visiting someone else–the fellowship and time together, not whether or not their floor was clean enough to eat on or whether the baseboards were shiny and clean. Enjoy your time this weekend with your new neighbors!!

  6. May 31, 2010 2:09 am

    You are so right about having company, and social graces, and your post about it and your phone call today could not have been more timely. When you called, my dear friend I’ve come to love so had just got here, and barely had time to sit down. So I had to decide which of you I’d ask to wait.

    It was not an easy choice, for I’ve been eager for you and I to phone visit, but I also knew my friend had been nonstop-busy at church, since she got up early this morning, and I thought it was nice of her to take time to come see me.

    So I appreciate our planning our talk for tomorrow. Am eager to know how your church visiting went, and what other interesting things are happening at The Lake; things like do you have bluebonnets, and are they blooming yet. and are you finding people you would like to have as friends.

    One of the nice things about having a daughter like you is that even if I goof up with my social graces, you still love me anyway.

  7. May 31, 2010 10:19 am

    My hubby and I have always had an “open-door” policy with family and church friends. If the door is unlocked, knock and walk-in. We have found so much to bless us with this way of life, and occasionally a few things that we needed to work on.

    I have told some of our “pickier” drop-ins that if the dust or piles of stuff bothered them, I’d be happy to show them where the cleaning supplies are kept.

    My goal is to enjoy my company. The cleaning can be finished after they leave.

  8. Gretchen permalink
    May 31, 2010 1:37 pm

    I think I need that book. Because evidently, I’m you in this story, & my husband is Don. 😉

  9. June 1, 2010 11:15 am

    That sounds like a good book. I often spend too much time agonizing over menus and dust bunnies too. This post, though, reminds me of what a friend of mine once told me in high school. He was the son of a doctor, who lived in a beautiful home that had an inground pool, among its other luxuries. I, on the other hand, grew up in a small bungalow that didn’t provide quite enough room for all of our things. I mentioned one time that I sometimes felt weird inviting my richer friends over, and he immediately spoke up and objected telling me that he loved coming to my house, because my mother was always welcoming, and because it felt like a home – not just a house. I’ve never forgotten that.

  10. June 1, 2010 4:55 pm

    I know this is an area God’s been dealing with me about for some time. I think He’s been using your posts, and book suggestion, to give me the kick in the pants I need to get moving in the right direction. 😉

    My book came in the mail today. We’re going camping in Arkansas with all except one of our 6 (combined) kids and their families this weekend. Though it will be loads of fun, I know, I don’t do ‘hot’ very well. I have a feeling I’ll be spending the ‘hottest’ part of the day chilling in our air-conditioned travel trailer, getting started on this book. 😉

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