This month the ladies of The Peony Project are writing on “hospitality.” I love being apart of this blogging community and have been encouraged by their support since the start of 47 Grove last fall. When I started blogging I had no idea how important the networking aspect was to ensure a successful blog. Writing posts and having a beautiful website is only part of the deal! The members of the Peony Project have given me sound blogging advice, encouragement when I felt like I didn’t get many views, and commented on my posts with words that meant the world to me. Talk about hospitality! Thank you to ALL my blogger friends.
Onto the prompt… Hospitality! “With warmer weather comes backyard BBQs, picnics, and parties…so let’s talk hospitality! What does hospitality mean to you? Do you love to entertain? Is being hospitable something you have to work at?”
If I’m being honest, the very first thing I think of when I hear the word “hospitality” is the hospitality ministry at church, baha! I spent just a bit of my life in church [wink face] and in between each service we (we as in the hospitality ministry) provides delicious breakfast foods, drinks, tea and coffee! Hospitality often means providing FOOD. We are Americans after all! Food, food, food. Hospitality took on a new meaning for me when my husband and I bought our first house back in November. Right around the same time we launched this blog! I had people coming in and out of the house for months checking things out and visiting with me and Clark. I loved it! I felt like Monica a little bit “I’m always the hostess!”… I just loved having people enjoy themselves at the Groveland house, as we call it.
You’ll notice she’s half asleep as she’s saying that! There we have my first lesson learned about being a entertaining in a house… it’s absolutely exhausting! How was I not prepared for that? For years upon years I’ve being hosting huge parties, fundraisers, formal events, tea parties – you name it! Each event is tiring and takes weeks and months to prepare. How did I not know that it wouldn’t be too different in my own home? Well, the first thing I underestimated was how much effort and time goes into keeping a 3 level house CLEAN! What the heck. With a messy husband, two cats, and many teenagers coming through there’s anyways something to clean, dishes to wash, laundry to do. I can’t imagine what it’ll be like when we add a newborn to the mix. I wish I could add many emoji’s to that thought.
Second lesson learned… it can get expensive to host! Especially as a youth pastor… teenagers eat… A LOT. Like bottomless pits. I also learned that they dirty a lot of dishes. Paper plates and plastic cups it is! Now that I have the space I have every urge in the world to have people over every weekend. Entertaining requires lots of planning ahead and thinking about what people would like to do.
Then I remember that Clark and I actually like being alone, teehee. I had volunteered us to host every birthday party, engagement party, cook-out… and put the husb to work with the vacuum. He appreciated that so much as you could guess. I figure we have the house so why not use it bless people? I even planned on going over to the neighbor’s homes with cookies to introduce ourselves… six months later I still haven’t “found the time” to do that. Oy.
With all this change and transformation in our lives with the house, entertaining, having people stay over, the new blog business, family issues, cats getting neutered, marriage to maintain, and never mind our “real jobs” with ministry PLUS my part time job… hospitality became the last thing we wanted to do! I guess we just tired ourselves out with all people we had coming through the house. On the one hand I still loved it. However, I finally realized there has to be a balance in yet another area of my life.
What’s strange about this whole friendly “hostess” thing is that I never imagined myself as that kind of wife/mom! Never mind what’s required of a ministry wife. LOTS to events, fundraisers, parties and families to host. I even used to wonder if I’d someday become maternal or event want children. I wasn’t sure if I could live up to the birthday parties, meeting other mom’s at school, and generally being friendly and hospitable. Small talk… yuck. God did many works in my heart when I got married. In our short five years of marriage, and couple years of dating Clark on top of that, I’ve become a much more loving and considerate person. It’s amazing how God can use the RIGHT relationship at the RIGHT time to help transform you into a better person.
Hospitality means to me… loving people and inviting them into your world. Small things you do to reach out and let someone know you see them and they are accepted. Eating food together… very American! Hospitality means welcoming people who need to be treated like family for a day. Sharing your blessings, even when you’re not in the mood. Haven’t we all been in need of someone’s hospitality before? I hope I can give it to someone who needs it now just the same.
The Peony Project is a community for women who love Jesus, love blogging, and are looking for a common space to share ideas, encourage one another, and make real, honest friendships with one another.