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lessons on hospitality

Friday, May 2, 2014

Hi, I'm Katie, and I struggle with hospitality. 

There, I said it.

It has been an ongoing inward struggle for me. I grew up in a home where my parents would open our home to anyone and everyone, and saw my momma host others with a gracious heart. I want to be like that. Really, I do. I just struggle with it.


I have seen friends who throw parties like it's their job. So I tried the same, and I put so much stress on myself that I would get frustrated when someone brought a dish that didn't match my white and clear dishes I had set out in a mad hatter arrangement of various heights. I was exhausted and grumpy by the time friends came over because I had spent my day trying to clean every nook and cranny of my house so that others thought our home was always immaculate. I would become frustrated when my sisters slept on our couch because I wanted to have my throw pillows perfectly arranged when everyone woke up.

Geez. That's not at all what hospitality is about.


When we went to Poland, everyone opens up their home to you without a second thought. There are no restaurant dinners, just home cooked love. First would be coffee and tea with sandwiches. Then would come a meal, always soup first, followed by the main dish. They would take out their good china, and the hostess was a perfect blend of preparing food and mingling.

It wasn't about the show. It wasn't about impressing people.

It was about the love and fellowship.


I came home from Poland after traveling for 25 hours on a Saturday night. The next day, we planned on going over to a friend's for Easter. Plans changed, and it made more sense for them to come to our house. About an hour before dinner, our group of 4 became a group of 6, and one more joined after the table was set.

All we did was clean off our counter. Everyone brought something to share, and I could have cared less about which dishes were used. I pulled out our everyday dishes, nothing fancy. We ran out of chairs, and Austen brought in a folding chair from outside, and did I care? No, not really. There was too much laughter and fellowship going on for me to care.

I realized that I overthink hospitality. My ducks don't have to be in a row for us to open up our home. People aren't looking at my carefully arranged throw pillows. They're looking at one another sitting on the couch as we laugh about Air Force life and relationships. They could care less about what dishes we pulled out, but care much more about the taste of the food they're eating around our table, the heart of our home.

I want to have a heart of sweet, Southern hospitality. I love having people over. I just want to be a gracious hostess where others feel the love inside of our home the way we do. Watching others host us lovingly in Poland has taught me so much about the way I want to open up our home to others.

3 comments:

  1. You are right, people don't care if the pillows are perfect, they just enjoy good company! It's always a wonderful feeling welcoming others into your home and being able to fellowship and eat a meal with them. I'm glad you had a great dinner with friends :)

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  2. Katie, I too struggle with that problem! But your so right, what we think people look at, they don't even glance at! I love a good decorated party, but sometimes i just need to step back and breathe and know that everything is good! All the parties I have been to at your house have been so adorable and fun, you are such a good hostess. You also made a Smores bar available to me and I couldn't resist. I think i had 6 or 7 haha! Anyways, love you girl! Your amazing no matter what! :)

    Katie

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  3. I lived in a place before where we lacked space to properly have any guests over. So hospitality was something I couldn't even think about.
    We recently moved to a space with much more walking room and hosted our first ever "dinner party." Funny thing was that I was so ready to have anyone over aside from my husband and myself that I didn't even think about what plate/cup/fork was out. Perhaps this had to do with the fact that we had so many purchases stashed for the "one day when we have more space" that I was just grateful to be able to use the "new" (but actually old) stuff. I totally agree with you though. That I did obsess over the little things that no one else noticed but, that having guests over enjoying company was the best feeling and that is indeed what hospitality is about. =)
    xo,
    nancy

    ReplyDelete

I love all ya'lls comments! I will try to either respond to your comment via the post or in email to ((hopefully)) create a more personal conversation.

xoxo

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