October 3, 2007

Hospitality


I think we sometimes underestimate the power of extending hospitality to others. When was the last time you got a dinner invitation to sit in someones home and dine? It's been awhile for me too. On the other hand, when was the last time we invited someone over to spend a worry-free evening at our own home? Sipping a nice glass of wine, and enjoying AB's amazing culinary prowess? I'm ashamed to say, it's been too long to remember. I'm not talking about a pizza, or takeout, or a large group. Though, I think those nights are great too! But I'm talking about the kind of evening where you're one on one with one or two couples, and allowing them the opportunity to be "pampered", if you will in your home. Both by ambiance, sites, smells, and sounds. By the taste of the food, and perhaps a beautifully set table, a real linen or cotton napkin, and enjoyable conversation - you've invited them in to rest awhile and enjoy your friendship.

I know it sounds easy, but with the busy schedules we all have and the constant demands of our daily lives, it's so hard to make time for ourselves, let alone others. This topic has been a constant challenge for me in my marriage to AB, because he loves to entertain and to cook for people. While I see all the work that must go into these type of invitations, he sees the fellowship and the opportunity to bless others through his gift of cooking and conversation. His faith in my ability to turn our home into a sanctuary is unwavering, and his compliments flow when the finished product is presented. Candles, soft jazz, the smell of dinner, and a clean home usher in the guests we bring to our home.

Mind you, we do not get an opportunity to do this often enough. Which set me to thinking, why not? Couldn't we set aside one night a month to spend with a different set of friends? After all, it's so hard to build relationships with others, when we let too much time pass without interaction. Good conversation can turn a bad day around. Laughter and a lovely meal can truly warm your soul. I challenge you to pick a couple with whom you've been wanting to spend more time, hand-write a personal note inviting them to dinner, and choose a date that works best for you both. Do a quick sweep and dust, throw the pasta in the boiling water, light some candles, break open a bottle of wine, and set the music to "nice and relaxing". Enjoy yourself and don't get hung up on too many details. What your friends will remember from your get-together is your conversation and the food - not the condition of your bathroom shower.

While I'm on the subject of hospitality - a long standing order with AB is that when someone has a baby, moves, or experiences a death in the family - he makes a meal for them. Recently, we met a family a couple neighborhoods over who had brand new baby at home, and no meals planned for the next several days. AB instantly offered to bring them a hot meal, and I piped in for dessert. This is such an easy and quick way to extend hospitality to someone in need. I can't tell you the number of times we have tag-teamed on this type of meal, but I've included a slide show below, showing you just how easy and quick it can be to serve someone. We whipped this out in less than an hour, ran it over, gave hugs and handshakes and were out the door in a flash, leaving them to relish in the yummy dinner and their new baby's coo-ing. I present Beef Stroganoff and Mini-Yellow Cupcakes with Whipped Chocolate Frosting and topped off with Chocolate Sprinkles. (A huge hit with their 4-year old daughter!) You can add side items like a fresh loaf of Artisan bread, green beans or broccoli, or even a Green Salad with Vinaigrette.

Happy Hospitality Hunting!

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12 comments :

amy said...

What a great post.

Donna & Joe said...

What a nice thing to do for a family home with a new baby! That was SO sweet of you guys...and the food looked great.

I LOVE your tip of using a ziplock back for the cupcake batter. This is an excellent idea. I usually spoon it in each cup and end up with batter on the pan.

Joe and I also love to have friends over for dinner and it IS hard to find the time. I make the mistake you mention of getting too wrapped up in the details though and I end up stressing out a bit. I really need to learn how to chill.

Donna :)

Christy said...

What a sweet thing to do!! That is so cool that he cooks-- very cool!!

Christy :)

Isabella's Mommy & Daddy said...

WOW... that is all I can say....
GREAT POST...
Take care
Kim

Mommy Firecracker said...

Now THIS is being Jesus to those around you. We can all take from your example of serving others. It is so easy to be Martha when we should be Mary. Y'all have been blessed with the gift of hospitality and how to show others how simple it can be to reach out.

SO...

Thank YOU for an awesome reminder to reach out. What seems to be an ordinary deed becomes something extraordinary.

You are a blessing!!

Lili & Robin said...

I am all for bringing back hospitality! I am like Donna - tend to overdo. thank goodness for my DH who says....all we need is a few burgers on the grill and a 6-pak....and wah lah...dinner party casual style! (I do like your fancy table, though)

-Lili

Doris & Dan said...

Girl, you were reading my mind! I thought the exact same thing not an hour ago. We have to start back up entertaining. It was hard with Daisy being sick but now she is doing better, we gotta get back into it.

I LOVE the ziploc bag for batter! Totally using that idea!!

Look delish! The first thing I do when I hear of good or bad news, is cook. For a death, when one feels helpless, it is something that I can do to make me feel useful and it really helps those who are grieving to know that they are not alone (and not have to worry about food). I prepped a massive lasagna when my best friend was pregnant and froze it a couple of weeks before he due date. When she came home from the hospital after giving birth a week early, we dropped it off.

Keep smilin!

Misty said...

Seriously, can you just write a book? WE ALL want you to! You are an amazingly beautiful writer. About your ideas, they sound beautiful too, as does your husbands cooking. Beautiful!

Carrie said...

Hi Christie,

I found you from a comment you made over at Headmeister’s blog and just want to pop over and say hello. We just got back from Ethiopia with our son. We used Dove Adoption (I noticed you had a link… don’t know if you are using them) and wanted to invite you to the yahoo group we’ve set up for Ethiopian Adoption. It for anyone, using any agency, but tends to be more Dove centric. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ethiopianadoptionconnections/

Anyway, it was nice “meeting” you and I’ll be checking in to see how your adoption adventures are going.

-Carrie

Anonymous said...

I have to say, having personally been on the receiving end of your woderful company and delicious food;it leaves an impression that lasts longer than any other gift.

You are both wonderful and giving people.

Stay beautiful baby.

Love V

sooze66 said...

Your post totally made me think. As we patiently wait on our first kiddo, it seems like entertaining would be a great way to visit with friends while we have all this time on our hands. (The post also made me smile as I just signed up today at church to be on the team to take food to people who need it - now I need to work on my cooking!)
Thanks!!!

JoAnn in NJ said...

What a lovely and generous couple you are!

wish we lived closer so we could partake of each other's hospitality!

Have a wonderful week!