Seasons of Hospitality

In my childhood home, hospitality was both an art form and a well-developed science. With up to 4 teenage daughters at once, my mother could host dozens or just a few with style and grace. We were quite a team – one daughter loved to prepare gourmet meals, another’s specialty was homemade rolls. My younger sister – bless her! – loved to clean and do laundry. When company was expected, Mom called out, “All hands on deck!” and we’d all pitch in with our skills and passions. As cloth napkins were folded into artful shapes and delectable dishes filled the house with mouth watering aromas, Mom would go around writing inspiring quotes on her collection of chalkboards to provide soul food and conversation starters for our guests.

I hope to offer the same type of hospitality from my home some day – when I have my own army of well-trained daughters! However, I am in an entirely different season of hospitality now. I’m lucky to get a simple casserole on the table before bedtime some days, and no, the house will not be spotless but I hope you will feel welcome anyway! 

Speaking of ‘guests’ – I’m delighted and honored to be guest posting today at one of my favorite blogs, Passionate Homemaking, with tips for exercising hospitality in this season of little ones, laundry mountains, and too-little-time. The good news is, if you’re goal is to “bless, not impress”, you CAN open your home in whatever season you are in!

Check out the post here, “Hospitality, To Bless or Impress?”

(There’s also a cute picture of Jesse learning to set the table for me when he was 2 – too cute! Reminds me that I need to keep involving Claire in the kitchen so she will learn to be as helpful as he is now! Read my tips on Little Ones in the Kitchen if you need to brush up in this area like I do!)

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Comments

  1. says

    Hahaha! Great post, both here and at Passionate Homemaking!

    I used to be really nit-picky about my house being clean (I still am with some people visiting), but for the most part we just want to spend time with people and I'd rather focus on the food than the cleaning anyways :-)

  2. says

    April – welcome! I know exactly how you feel. I have to guard how much time I spend on certain blogs because I can get totally stressed out about all I am not doing yet. I have to keep reminding myself – baby steps! baby steps!

    You might enjoy my painfully honest post, “Meltdown” about the last time I got down about nutrition and stuff, and what I did that made me feel better –
    http://trintje.blogspot.com/2010/10/meltdown.html

    Sunnysidemom – working on the sprouted wheat post right now. :)

  3. april says

    Hey Trina! I'm so glad I found your site through Intentional Homemaking. I've been researching real food and traditional diets for the past several months and have been totally stressed over it (and have been stressing my husband!). I'm happy to have found someone who applies these concepts, but has a Christ-centered life (unlike most of the other blogs I was following–they're not bad, they just didn't help me with a healthy perspective). Anyway, happy to glean from you…
    ~April

  4. says

    We've been talking about it, but I think right now life has us so busy and stressed out that we've deliberately chosen to NOT be hospitable, not even going out to restaurant meals with others. I know this makes us sound very cloistered, and we are, but we have very little time together as a family(by very little I mean six hours a week). We're choosing to guard that time and keep it to ourselves. Unfortunately, unless my husband chooses to change careers at some point, it isn't something that is going to change. I am learning to let go of what I THINK our life should look like and instead adapt to what it IS.

  5. says

    sara – I forgot to mention – in our first two years of marriage we had about the same record for non-family company and getting invited out as a couple, so you are not alone. I felt like those first two years were important for focusing on each other and who we were as a couple before we were ready to reach out – make sense? I was still finding my footing as my own social coordinator. The very fact that we weren't invited out much was a motivator for me to become more hospitable. Fellowship with others is so important.

  6. says

    Janet – good for you! It's neat to hear how your husband encouraged you and your journey to learning to be hospitable.

    Sara – If hospitality is something you want to get the hang of, maybe you should try setting some really small goals. Did you read the post over at Passionate Homemaking? There were some great ideas and encouragement in the comments over there about starting small.

  7. says

    Very good reminder. We have found that hospitality is something that is lacking in a lot of churches. We have chosen to make a huge effort in having people over often. My husband has encouraged me that the food doesn't need to be 'special'. Thinking that way made it a lot easier for me. It is also wonderful to see how much our children enjoy visiting with adults and older children. We find that they are asking “when will we have more people over”.

    You are so right with having children help in the kitchen. My almost 6 year old helps me so much and is sad when I don't have her help me.

  8. says

    My hardest part of hospitality is that its not something I grew up with. My dad really dislikes having people over, so we rarely did. And even though my mom had eight daughters, by the time we were teenagers, we were so busy with college and jobs and activities that we weren't a great deal of help around the house. I think in two years of marriage we have had non-family company over twice. But between our schedules, trying to find time to clean the house, cook a decent meal, and simply have the energy to have a nice conversation with company is beyond us. I keep thinking that in fifteen years it will be easier–but I suspect it really won't be. And if it's a not a practice we get into now, we probably won't ever, but I honestly just do not have the time and energy right now to be hospitable. I think that a lot of people feel the same way–in two years of marriage and three years of dating, we have never once been invited anywhere else. And even growing up, my family never got invited over, probably just because of the sheer number of us. I do think it's just because life is so busy and stressful for everyone these days.