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June 26, 2014

My Pineapple & Hospitality


This pineapple sits on my kitchen counter. I wouldn't say it necessarily matches my other décor, but yet I keep it there anyway. Why? Well, I once heard it said that the pineapple was the symbol for hospitality, and being hospitable is most definitely a priority in our home.

The dictionary defines hospitality as:
1. the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers 2. the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.
I love #2 - How I long to have a disposition that genuinely receives others...genuinely welcomes others in a warm manner.

Most of us can relate to this scene:
You hear the doorbell ring.
You jump up and start straightening your living area.
You start cramming your mess in closets...under the furniture...in the oven.
(Okay, I've never actually thrown any of my mess under the furniture or in the oven, but those would be good hiding places, huh?)
The doorbell rings again.
You start to head to the door.
You run to the bathroom, look in the mirror to make sure there isn't anything in your teeth...or on your face...or in your hair.
The doorbell rings again.
You start to head to the door.
You realize your toddler has smeared peanut butter all over the front of your pants.
You start to head to the kitchen to wipe off your pants, but then...you just give up...
...and you answer the door.

You know what? Life is messy...Your house is going to get messy...especially if you have little ones. It is okay. (Aren't those words so incredibly soothing sometimes?)
Let me say them again...It.is.okay.


When we moved in to our new house, we felt strongly that we use our living space to bless others. After cramped apartment living, my husband and I were both excited about the idea of having a revolving door on our home - We love to have guests. We love to entertain. We love to host overnight visitors.

I also decided that this philosophy would be the best way to encourage me to keep up with my housework. Knowing I have guests coming throughout the week definitely helps me stay motivated to maintain order in our home. However, there have also been the times when gals have sat in my living room with me...sipped coffee with me...and chatted with me...all while a huge, unfolded mound of laundry sat next to us on the couch. I have learned to embrace the possibility of these types of things. It really doesn't bother me, and it doesn't bother [true] friends either....or at least I don't think it does...maybe I should ask. ;-)

Some people have an open-door policy with their closest of friends. I love this idea! Your inner circle should be free of judgment. They should be stopping in to see you...to spend time with you...not to judge your space in any way.
However, if you know that someone is planning to stop by, here are a few things you might consider:
1. Clean up all the dirty diapers....Okay...maybe that's a given...Let's start over...
1. Light a yummy smelling candle - I usually light one in my kitchen, and it typically helps the house smell delicious even if I burnt my eggs that morning (or forgot to pick up a dirty diaper somewhere). *smile*
2. Have some kind of small treat prepared ahead of time. When I am in the mood, I bake additional items to throw in the freezer for days when I have guests. It is easy to pull something sweet out of the freezer that morning and have it ready to share with them when they come. If you're not in to baking, I have also been known to buy a few Banana Nut Breads from Bob Evans or Fresh Market, throw them in my freezer, and serve warm slices to guests when they arrive. I have a friend who keeps several gallon-sized bags of fruit in her freezer. She serves it [to guests] on pound cake slices, over yogurt, on top of ice cream, etc. The freezer definitely helps make it easy to always be prepared with a treat.
3. Turn on music that you think your guests will enjoy - nothing wild & crazy...just something nice to have in the background when they arrive.
4. If it's chilly outside, I love to have my fire going - super cozy no matter who is coming for a visit.
5. I try to remember to have my front blinds open - so our house doesn't look like the Munsters'...so our visitors know we are actually home. If they're arriving in the evening, I will turn on lamps, etc. just to give a nice warm glow to the interior of the house.

6. You know what else makes me feel welcome in a home? I love when there are throw pillows and blankets easily accessible. You want your friends to feel comfortable curling up on your couch with a hot cup of coffee or tea and staying awhile.

You may be thinking I don't have time for this. It is so important that we wholeheartedly embrace the idea of community and reach out - in tangible ways - to others. We have to be intentional about this - structuring our days to include this type of thing - oftentimes planning for it in advance...as - most the time - it simply will not just happen on its own.

Keep in mind, however, that these are merely suggestions/ideas - I most definitely am not saying your house needs to be perfect before you can open the door for guests. In fact, I love The Nester's thoughts in her post: Why You've Got to Have Guests When Your House isn't Perfect

While hospitality includes the welcoming of family, friends, acquaintances, it is also important that we are welcoming to strangers. This will look different for everyone...Each situation will be different and require different things from you...but I challenge you to think about how you can be hospitable even to the strangers in your life. You may or may not choose to have them in your home - Either way, let's not miss the opportunities to treat everyone (including strangers) in a warm, friendly, and generous way...even if they cut you off in traffic...even if they are rude to you in the grocery store...I will stop there, I'm starting to feel guilty...
I will most definitely include myself in this "Hospitality Challenge".

Hospitality Challenge: to create a warm, safe place for others to land - remembering to put people before things...always - taking no thought for what may be in it for me.  

In my mind, it is oftentimes the small things that go a long way.
What does hospitality look like for you? What other ideas do you have for helping guests feel welcome your home? Have you ever shown genuine hospitality to a stranger? What did that look like?

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Portions of this post were originally featured on The Fisk Files~

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