Reasons We Practice Hospitality

“Always be eager to practice hospitality.”

~Romans 12:13~

Recently I was doing my Bible study and several scriptures on hospitality popped up.  They were like a slap to my face as hospitality is something I have neglected greatly in the  nearly four years since we moved here to South Carolina.

“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling”

~I Peter 4:9~

It wasn’t intentional, but began with the attitude that we didn’t know anyone.  Next it was because our house isn’t as put together as I would like. I’ve even used the excuse that no one else is having us over, so why should we open our home…. And now it’s just because we are so out of practice the desire to entertain has just slipped away.

It’s not that we haven’t had friends over in the time we’ve been here, but what was once several times a month has dwindled to maybe once every other month.  The truth of it all is, I truly miss opening our home to friends for a hot meal, great conversation, or a good game of cards.

Hospitality

No matter how old-fashioned or taboo it has become, opening your home for guests is such a wonderful way to share love and show others how much you truly care for them.  Audley and I have talked a lot about our lack of having people over and decided there was no better time than now to change this aspect of our lives.

autumn centerpiece 3

There are so many reasons why we should entertain (beginning with the words God himself spoke to inspired writers), but here are some of the reasons we entertain and why you should practice hospitality as well:

1. Opening your home to guest creates a casual environment that is so much more conducive for communication and getting to know one another on a deeper, more personal level.   You have experienced it over and over, the chaos of restaurants.  They are loud, full of interruptions, and a far cry from an intimate environment of your home.  Dining out also gets very expensive, especially if you have kids that are accompanying you.  Opening your home takes away much of the chaos we have in public settings and creates a casual, welcoming atmosphere we all desire.

2. My kids can entertain your kids.  We all live in a super busy world that for many of us are controlled by our kids.  Basketball on Monday, lacrosse on Thursday, wrestling on Saturday, youth group on Wednesday…. It goes on and on.  Not only do adults need a break from the kids, they also need a break from us!  When you open you home to others it creates a perfect atmosphere for kids, no matter their age, to let their guard down, be themselves and learn to socialize outside of school and sports.

autumn centerpiece

3. Opening your home helps foster relationships you might not have made  otherwise.  It’s easy to have the same circle of friends over, but when you broaden you invitations you will make associations you would have never imagined.  Audley and I have recently agreed to host a small group on Sunday evenings as a part of our Church’s Life Group program.  By doing this we have met several fabulous couples and families of ALL ages that otherwise we still would not have met in our large congregation.  It has been such a blessing for us as we share and study together each week.

4. You are setting an example for your children.  Our children need to see the joy and fun that comes with being hospitable.  They need to know not everything will be picture perfect, but you can still open the doors to others and share a wonderful evening laughing, talking, sometimes crying and leaving the world outside.

Autumn table

5. You set the tone for the evening.  Hospitality doesn’t always have to be a five-course supper.  It can be simple quiches from the freezer with other finger foods or even pizza from the local pizzeria.  Sit a table if you desire or use paper plates for your munchies while you tackle a friendly game of cards.  Opening your home can be something you planned weeks in advance or a spontaneous action because you got off work early on Friday night.  Believe me, no one will remember how fancy or how casual the time spent in your home was, but they will remember how you made them feel!

6. Showing hospitality is a wonderful way to create community.  We live in a culture where taking care of self is more important than looking out for those around us.  Opening our homes lets us show compassion, love, service, and genuine interest in those who surround us and take the focus off of ourselves!  And let’s be honest, doesn’t the world need more of this?!

Last weekend Audley and I hosted four couples for a movie and dinner “date night”.  These four couples were a part of the marriage class we just finished teaching at church and we felt this would be a great way to end our time as teachers.  Of course not everyone from the class was able to attend, but with the small number who did we chose to go all out to set the mood for our “date night”.  We truly were blessed by the evening as it gave us the opportunity to get to know these four couples to a greater depth with our fun and laid back conversations as we are all in different stages of our marriages and lives.

Autumn centerpiece 2

This wonderful evening was a great reminder to what we have been missing and we are already planning our next dinner party!

When was the last time you opened your home “just because” and not out of obligation?  I would love to hear your input.

9BC920CC6823471E78F010232F661C22

{Monday}

I always love the Monday after a holiday weekend.  No, it’s really not because my kids are back in school (although I didn’t miss them when they left this morning), or because my husband is working out of town all week and I can be queen of his castle while he’s gone …..  I just love the quiet moments to sit back and reflect on what a wonderful holiday it was.
November is a month when so many focus on gratitude and thankfulness.  I’ve not been as vocal about it as many on my blog or Facebook, but it is a subject our family has talked quite a bit about here at home around the supper table.  This morning, as the children were dropped off at school, Audley left for the airport and I finished one tough weight session at the gym, all I could think about is how wonderful my life is.
No, my life is not perfect.  The laundry is piled high and beds need to be made, the kids are tired of eating healthy, the disposal in the sink leaks and has to be replaced, we live payday to payday and there are plenty of bills to be paid.
{But, I am rich.}
I am rich because I have a husband who loves, provides for & encourages me, healthy & happy kids, a roof over my head, food on my table, I have an extended family that is my biggest support system, friends who are like my own flesh and blood, and I am saved.
You know, it’s a pretty good feeling.
Over the holiday weekend we traveled to be with our families in Tennessee and Alabama.  It was a rushed trip, but one I very much enjoyed and treasured.  Mom and I spent time in the kitchen together getting the bulk of dinner on the table before the rest of my siblings arrived. My dad shared some treasured family photos with me that my grandfather took decades ago.  My children took advantage of every waking moment they had playing with their cousins.  We were able to enjoy time with Audley’s parents, our Samantha and her fiancé (just three weeks until her wedding day).  And we enjoyed traveling together as a family even though the traffic was less than desirable.
Here is a glimpse of some of my thoughts this morning as I reflect on our Thanksgiving …..

 

 

 My Mother & Daddy just married, over 43 years ago….  I am so blessed to have parents that have set a wonderful example on making a marriage last.
Momma made that beautiful dress that she has on.

 

And speaking of my momma making dresses, my Madeline tried on the wedding dress that Momma made all those years ago.
And I had always thought my son favored my father ….
There is no denying that Bradley is definitely his grandson.  The girls said “they even have the same ears!”
There is also no denying that it doesn’t take much for us to have a lot of fun.  From chess to bocce ball and playing with chickens everyone is content to enjoy themselves when we get together as a family.

 

 

My cute little niece showing me how to pick turnips.

 

My sisters are my biggest supporters in my weight-loss journey.   I am so thankful for the support that they offer on a regular basis.

 

 

I’m also thankful that I can spoil my little nieces and nephews …. momma may not let them have a cupcake, but Aunt Jen will!

 

And I am ever so thankful for the entertainment and joy my children young adults bring into my life everyday.

 

 

Heaven only knows they don’t get along every minute of the day, but at the end of it I know without a doubt they really love each other.
And I am ever so thankful that while my kids are getting older, they still have the heart of children which is why we stood in line for almost an hour at Bass Pro Shops in Atlanta on Black Friday because they insisted they wanted their picture made with Santa and then they rode the carousel.

 

While there are so many other wonderful things in my life, it only takes a few minutes to realize that I am rich indeed …. and, oh so blessed!

 

And it has been wonderful to reflect on it today.
What are you thankful for?!

Thanksgiving Tabletop

While this is not our table for tomorrow (my mother is handling that one), I did set a holiday themed table earlier this week as I entertained three of my girlfriends for supper.
Using a combination of fresh and faux decorations mixed with casual harvest dishes, the holiday theme was perfectly represented.
I wanted a “centerpiece” that was visually appealing, but not distracting to our dinnertime conversation.  While flowers and candles are a popular centerpiece, I wanted to do something just a little different.  This worked just perfectly.

 

 

 The garlands used throughout the room are from several years ago.  Don’t be afraid to cut a garland to make it serve a purpose.  I used one five foot leafy garland to adorn the topiary pumpkins, and work as a centerpiece on the table.  I will keep these to use differently next year.   I used fresh pie pumpkins, mini-pumpkins, and gourds for traditional accents.  I will cook with these pumpkins this weekend.

 

The soup tureens are from Williams-Sonoma; The large “aged” candlesticks from Pottery Barn. These can be used for decorating any number of spaces in your home. The tapers are Creative Candles; I especially love that they are dripless.  My tablecloth is from TJ Maxx a few years back (an after-Thanksgiving steal) and the Johnson Brothers turkey plates are from Home Goods.  The silverware is antique replicas from the clearance section of Neiman Marcus (they seriously have amazing sales, especially when it is clearance time!).

 

 

I just love a simply themed table, don’t you?  
As you make you final plans for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, from our home to yours, I wish you all the happiest of holidays!