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February 9, 2015

on hospitality

When I was a kid I was certain that when I grew up I was going to have the house where all the kids gathered and people were always welcome.  There would always be room for one more at the dinner table and the guest room would always be at the ready.


And then I became an adult.  Life got busy, I married an introvert, kids came along and my house was never quite finished.  So I settled for yearly birthday parties for the kids and meeting friends at the local Chili's.

Which is not bad, it just wasn't what I imagined...


And then about ten years ago I decided to accept and respect the boundaries in my life with regards to company but to figure out a way that I could still live the life I dreamed of as a kid.  I gave up the notion of having pop in friends, extended house guests in a perfectly decorated room and a completely done home.  I instead focused on inviting a few friends over just for their company, not to impress them and not to feel embarrassed by a house with mismatched dishes that more often than not looks like an active family lives here.

What a revolutionary notion that was for me.


What I learned is that when family needs a place to stay they aren't looking for a luxury hotel, just a bed with clean sheets and a smiling face handing them a hot cup of coffee in the morning.  When friends come to visit they don't expect a gourmet meal and a pinterest ready atmosphere, they just want a safe place to talk about the ups and downs of life.

I love this quote from Edie at Life in Grace...

"Hospitality is not about inviting people into your perfect home, it's about inviting them into your imperfect heart."

Doesn't that just say it all?  Who might need an invitation into your less than ready home and your perfectly imperfect heart?

xo. Patty

14 comments:

  1. Some of my favorite people are the ones who always have a hot cup of tea ready and a comfortable place to sit and chat. As far as the rest of the house is concerned, who cares. It's the conversation and how much you felt welcomed that stays with you forever. Deb

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  2. What a great post, Patty! I grew up with the same idea in my head and also then married an introvert, who has changed and is now quite social. But we're always in the throes of a major reno, so like you, birthdays and Christmas are our only visit scenarios, though we added in backyard bbq's now that we've redone our yard. Now we're building a new house, the kids are grown and are friends are very excited about seeing our project completed. I'm so confident we'll be hosting house parties that we've been gathering extra wine glasses and new dishes all year!!

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  3. We entertain all the time, and we don't worry about the condition of the house (as long as the dishes are done and there's TP in the bathroom, we're set). I'm often told "Oh, my house isn't ready for company" or "i'm afraid to have visitors"--I say, don't fuss about it!

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  4. I work on this all the time. Sometimes it's easy to throw cares aside and say come on in...other times it makes my heart beat fast. It's important though to have friends and family in our home and I love it!

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  5. This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart Patty. IAs much as I love all the eye candy on Pinterest, I think it has scared some people into feeling that they don't measure up if they don't set a stage with flowers, candles, 4 layer place settings and gourmet food. We really need to understand that most of the people we know have the same messes in their homes that we do. Everyone has dirty laundry stashed somewhere and unwashed dishes and undusted corners. We need to stop worrying about what others think of us based on what we have and connect with people! Here is a secret I have learned, Earl and I are BOTH introverts, how is that for a recipe for not entertaining? What we have found though, is that in serving others through entertaining and meeting their needs, the pressure to make small talk is eliminated. I don't know why it puts us so much at ease, but it does. Focus on what you can do for your guests and their comfort and it will all fall into place.

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  6. Hi Patty, that very thing was been impressing me lately, too. If I wait until everything is perfect to invite guests to drop in . . . well, I'll never do much entertaining. On the other hand, if I have the coffee pot ready to go and a pack of cookies in the cupboard to throw on a cake . . . then it's coffee time for good conversation and with good friends. The other side of that is that when you make things simple for yourself, you are also making it simple for them. Maybe you are not getting invited over because they think that they have to compete with your perfectly clean house and gorgeous table. If we all relaxed a bit more . . . life would be much sweeter :)

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  7. This is so, so true - thank you for the reminder :-) We seem to have a constant stream of house guests and I so love it when they feel at home enough to potter around and make tea and put their feet up on the sofa. Then we can all just relax and enjoy each other.
    xx

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  8. I am a perfectionist and always think that when someone comes over, my house has to be "perfect". But, guess what...it never will be. Just like me! I try to keep in mind that when someone comes over, all they want is to be welcomed and comfortable. My husband and I are both introverts so we don't do a lot of entertaining, but I do like occasional company.

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  9. Patty - love this post and that quote!

    Judy

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  10. You have a true heart of hospitality ~ making others feel welcome and loved :) Sweet post!

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  11. Perfect post for my day today. A message I think I need to hear! Thanks!

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  12. I loved this reminder. You are a great example to me!

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  13. Well said Patty! I couldn't agree more. It can be a challenge to change your thinking. It was for me!

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  14. Hi Patty, I love this post. Seems some of our dreams are close and we find a way to enjoy them . I like your coffee cup. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

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