Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Preparing a table

I really enjoyed reading your comments on last month's post about homemaking skills. In fact, I have a couple more follow-up posts brewing in my head.

For today's purposes, though, I wanted to focus on hospitality. Though that word has a wider meaning, for this post, I'm defining it as opening your home to others. I really appreciated how honest many of you were in sharing reasons why you don't have people over much: a husband (or other family member, including yourself) who does not enjoy hospitality, or wanting the house to be presentable/perfect (ha!) These are definitely valid reasons, but I'd like to encourage you to consider opening your home to others. After all, the Bible says to "offer hospitality to one another without grumbling" (I Peter 4:9) and "Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." (Romans 12:13).

To address the concerns mentioned, I know I don't expect someone's house to look spotless when I come over--do you expect that from others, whether or not you place that standard on your own home? As for someone in your family who does not enjoy hospitality, that is trickier to navigate. I wonder if anyone reading has suggestions to offer in this case?

As for my own hospitality efforts, we're having my husband's new colleagues over for brunch later this morning. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I'm using the same menu from when we hosted the college president: Farmer casserole (recipe in previous link), fresh fruit, beverages, and cheese muffins (really yummy and slightly sweet). I opted for no caramel rolls this time, because mine always turn out either doughy or crunchy.

Hosting a small brunch feels manageable to me. It's just 6 people, and the menu is simple. My husband originally wanted to invite his office for lunch, but we decided a mid-morning gathering was a more casual choice. (There will obviously be a toddler running around, so casual is good!) None of his new co-workers have been in our home yet, so I'm looking forward to welcoming them.

As you continue to ponder this topic that is near to my heart, I'd like to end with the following quote from Radical Hospitality:

"The image of preparing a table, or preparing a place, is a good overall image for hospitality. In genuine hospitality we work to make our entire existence a welcoming table, a place prepared for others to be at ease, to receive from us comfort and strength."


thehomespunheart said...

Hi Carrie - you know that hospitality is a topic near to my heart as well.

I think Meredith hit it on the head in her post this week when she shared that adding a little extra effort to dress up a table even with discount items - shows that we care for the people we are doing it for and that they are worth it!

Erica M said...

Ooo, hospitality is something I have always loved, but an area my husband wasn't keen on till recently. Here's how we dealt with it.

Hubby doesn't like large groups of people. So, I suggested that once a month we have 1 couple/family for dinner. He agreed to try it and he's hooked.
It seems to work out nicely if I let him do part of the meal, usually grilling, so that he is participating in the preparations instead of being left to entertain while I put things on the table. If he's grilling, the other man/men can join him on the back patio while us girls set stuff on the table. I think hubby's fear was that he'd have to entertain.
Even if we're not grilling, and we've prepared a nice sit down dinner, I get him to help me. There's something about having sharing the pride of having made a nice dinner to serve to guests that gives him a reason to be excited about company instead of dreading it.
Now he suggests we have company instead of me asking! (He even does the inviting!) It's become a treasured part of our month!

Ticia said...

I love to have people over but I stress out so bad about getting everything ready and nice. The food prep is my worst enemy.

A, B & C said...

I always start preparing for parties/gatherings by typing out a quick menu, then I list beside each item on the spreadsheet what I need to buy to make it. I save the menus it so I can repeat menus when I want to, or take a few things out of each menu and add a few new things when the same guests are coming.

The thing that hurts us the most about entertaining (since we both love to have people over) is the expense. I've found, though, that many people will offer to do pot luck or bring something once we've invited them a few times. We also have an amazing wine/gourmet food collection from hosting so many parties.

I love being known for great parties and dinners- but it's rarely my food or neat house that impress anyone. Often it's just the company of others and how people feel when you include them. My husband and I find it very worthwhile.

mom said...

Hospitality -- what a great topic! I think it's easier to love the idea of hospitality than to actually do it -- especially for some people who don't feel that they are "gifted" in this area. One of my favorite books on hospitality is "Open Heart, Open Home." We've had a lot of people in our home over the years -- and as I think back, there were only a few times that seemed to be uncomfortable or not fun. Usually we end up having great fellowship in spite of our small house, imperfect food or decorations, spills, etc. Dad did not initially share my enthusiasm for having company, so I can identify with those who have commented that their husbands don't really like to have people over. Remember getting together for Hymn Sings? I think Dad enjoyed those so much -- whether they were at our house or someone else's -- that it forever changed his view of hospitality.

Hope your brunch went smoothly today and that a good time was had by all! Love you, Mom

Kendra said...

Hey Carrie,

I hope the brunch went well yesterday. I'm sure everyone had a great time at your new place!

I think my biggest struggle with hospitality is that I feel like the meal is never ready on time. Even if I plan it all out as best as possible, it never seems to be timed quite right! Working full time makes it very difficult to have the meal on the table at an hour that normal people eat! We are now just use to eating at 7:30 or 8:00 with our schedules right now. :)

Carrie said...

Off subject - (I still regularly stalk your blog, btw....I just am not a regular commentor. Love all the new pictures you've been sharing of your life lately.)

In the spirit of the swap you do with your sister, a friend and I are doing a book swap. Here's the info if you are interested.