I trust you read the introduction on yesterday's post about my heart for The Table Experience. If you haven't already done so, take a few moments and glance over The Table Experience. Today, I wish to teach and challenge you on the subject of hospitality as a ministry gift.
Hospitality is...A Value of Serving
“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:9
A growing number of people across the world are realizing that something deep is missing in their lives. And that something is connection to others, often through the blessing of hospitality. Hospitality can be a blessing to both the hostess and her guests, but, for many women today, it simply doesn’t happen. Feelings and beliefs of inadequacy, unrealistic expectations, fear of failure, and a lack of time all conspire to steal the joy that comes from opening one’s home and sharing fellowship with others.
I think we shy away from helping others out sometimes because we get caught up in the details of an entire meal. People just want to be thought of, to be taken care of a little. And sometimes we just need fresh ideas for ways to reach out.
A Heart Attitude
The true meaning of hospitality lies in the attitude of the heart. Your attitude should reflect a desire to warm the heart and refresh the spirit of your guests. This attitude is demonstrated by your active presence as you direct your full, heartfelt attention toward your guests. All the planning and preparation should say, “I’m glad you’re here!”
Your whole attitude about focusing on others is extremely important. Perfection is often more about appearance than substance.
Hospitality begins at the Front Door.
Have fun at your own party!
Plan your work; then work your plan
Plan ahead ~ Make a TO DO list. Delegate work for family members, if you have others in the home.
You create the tone.
The host & hostess always set the tone of the party.
If you are happy and relaxed, your guests will respond in like manner. Keep a positive attitude.
Avoid negative thoughts about your home, your own inadequacies, food preparation, weakness in your, etc.
Be yourself, no pretense. Focus on your guests and have a good time.
Avoid stressful situations.
Maintain a peaceful atmosphere among family as you prepare for your guests. Stay calm and avoid harsh words or arguments.
Make sure you have more than enough food & beverages.
Know your guests' like and dislikes. If you are entertaining a person who is diabetic or has food allergies, for example, be sure to provide food that they can eat.
Be sure to have plenty of places to sit. You want people to be comfortable.
Stay relaxed about messes and spills. Although some spills must be cleaned immediately, others can wait until after your guests leave.
“… We were especially delighted at the joy of Titus, because you have all set his mind at rest, soothing and refreshing his spirit.” 2 Corinthians 7:13b
Make your home inviting by adding special touches that will stimulate emotions and set a mood.
Orderly Home Atmosphere--Make your home a clutter-free & clean in appearance.
Wait to do the heavy cleaning and vacuuming after guests have left.
A beautiful life is about the authentic LIFE we live and how we share it with others!
Create a Mood with Flowers & Candles
Fresh flowers, fresh fruit or greenery will be a spectacular addition to your table, counter, and or living room. Experiment with different kinds of foliage.
Supermarkets/Warehouse stores carry reasonably priced flowers.
Stores like Hobby Lobby have half-off sales on their silk flowers every month.
Try using all one color of any kind of flower and place in favorite vase. You can use a variety of flowers but of the same color and it’s a simple but beautiful arrangement.
During the holidays use beautiful foliage right outside your back door.
Candles are warm, glowing. Using vanilla scent is pretty neutral and not overbearing with foods or guests' allergies.
Reference Tip: Read Home Experience by Devi Titus & Marilyn Weiher
Create a Mood with Music – Set the Tone of the Gathering
Music can be made louder when guests are first arriving to eliminate the awkward silences often experienced during introductions. After conversations get moving, lower the volume.
Be sensitive when playing music, style and volume. Do not have it so loud that the guests shout to be heard.
More than the ambiance or the tablescape, though, what makes entertaining real for me is the connection. The conversation will take place, relationships that will be forged, and the intimacy is shared. It’s how we make a difference in this world — by reaching out to new people and families that come into our lives.
It’s called real entertaining for real people.
Practice Good Table Manners
Be kind. Kindness is the foundation for all etiquette.
Be joyful, conversational, and complimentary.
“Why do I use a Dollar Store?”
Years ago I stocked up on beautiful glasses from a Dollar Store. It says that dinner parties are attainable, they are affordable, and that they can be beautiful even when on a budget. I frequent the Dollar Store for ANY and ALL events and holidays.
A Few Favorite Stores for Bargains
Partner with a Friend or Family-If you don’t have an item, check with a friend to see if you could borrow it. Take care of it like you would take care of your things.
Paper Goods–I really enjoy the beautiful paper products. There are so many wonderful paper goods to make a beautiful table setting. I use my chargers to dress it up more.
Place Ware–The Dollar Tree is amazing and has silver plastic ware--a setting of four (knife, fork, spoon each) for only one dollar! It looks so nice and requires no clean up. I love that these days.
Flowers–If you don’t know how to arrange flowers, keep it simple. You can also ask a friend who is gifted in this area. I’m sure there is something you can do for her in exchange. Keep it SIMPLE and you will experience PLEASURE!
Recipes–Use 'tried and true'. Be true to who YOU are. Keep it REAL! That will help you stay RELAXED!
Budget–Everyone has a budget--even the rich and famous. Stay within your budget. Plan ahead.
Build your Supplies and Goods–Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take your time and find your treasures. Store them in buckets or containers and keep them safe to use over and over again.
Think Outside of the Box–Be creative in your thinking. If that’s not your best talent, solicit help for ideas and plans. I’m always asking my creative friends. Use objects in or outside of your home. Think 'drama'. "How can I make this have a WOW Look?"
Look in Magazines &/or Pinterest–Take a pic on your phone or collect pages from the magazines.
Inspiration Board–Consider using an Inspiration Board and collect colors, swatches of material, pictures, etc. That becomes a visual and something you work off of. It helps to keep you focused.
When Purchasing an Item–Always ask yourself, “How many ways can I use these items”? It’s a great rule of thumb for me. I use my treasures in many different ways and achieve many different looks.
Supplies–Keep supplies on hand. Have a small box or toolkit handy and full of supplies such as –
The 10 Commandments of Hospitality*
Hospitality is not about you. It’s about making others feel warm & welcome.
Plan ahead, be organized, and know your recipe. Learn to delegate.
Set the mood. Keep ambience & the five senses in mind.
Avoid perfectionism. Put fear aside – it’s a robber of anything good.
Share conversation. Foster friendship by keeping things real.
Demonstrate thriftiness. Buying things at cost or learning to pinch pennies makes entertaining attainable.
Don’t apologize. It’s okay to make mistakes. Learn to not bring these to light in front of your guests; it robs your guests of relaxation.
Be creative. Use what you have. Keep things simple.
Learn from others. Find mentors and learn to find a healthy balance.
Life impact is everything. Experience intimacy and meaning in sharing a meal and gleaning from others’ lives.
*Adapted from The Reluctant Entertainer by Sandy Couglin, Bethany House (Baker Publishing Group), 2010. For more great ideas, visit www.reluctantentertainer.com
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12
Dorcas Schroeder has been communicating God’s Word for 35-plus years with warmth and grace, inspiring others to pursue a more intimate relationship with Him. Her passion is to see herself and others embrace the joys of walking with Christ in every day experiences. Due to various circumstances in her family, Dorcas became caregiver to both her parents and her brother who suffered with A.I.D.S. Through heartache, disappointment, great losses, and life happenings, she has learned where her source of help came from through the Scriptures that leaped off the pages of the Bible to become a reality. Her ministry is designed specifically for women for Practical Living Every Day. Dorcas’ desire is to show women their true value and worth in God’s eyes and their potential to uniquely influence the world around them. Dorcas enjoys decorating, gardening, & designing electronic cards for hundreds of people throughout the year. Married to the man of her dreams, Karl, for 44 years, Dorcas absolutely loves her husband and two grown children, Karlj and Tabitha, their spouses, and six grandchildren. Dorcas and Karl attend & serve at The Bridge in Mustang, OK. Follow her on Instagram @Dorcas7