So happy to be rounding the corner of the seasons and seeing spring on the horizon.
Spring seems so full of possibility and opportunity but I like how the cold isn’t quite finished with us yet – cardigan weather I call it. Warmer in the day but still chilly at night so if you go out doors you still need something on, like a soft stretchy cardigan that you can pull in close around you. Still cold enough for an outdoor fire and I’m hoping to squeeze one or two more in before the cold is gone entirely.
And with the change in weather I got to thinking about more time in the garden and maybe more people around my table. I like the idea of that but I feel like Im not so good at it.
See being a wee bit of an introvert I have a tendency to shut the front door – literally and metaphorically. I just close the world out and do my own thing and that’s OK occasionally when it’s needed but – – – if I do it too much, I get insular and stuck in my ways, the house gets lonely and I do too.
I make it complicated though
To invite people in I think everything needs to be all prettied up and organised and if I don’t have time to do that then I tend not to bother. I’m blaming it on plain old pride and all the years of doing “events” – all the staging and arranging to make places and spaces event ready – where everything is prepared and organised and tweaked down to the last detail and things run like clock work. I love to do an event but it’s hard work and it’s the exact opposite to what I want to be doing at home. So when I think visitors – I think “event” – and I immediately think – not prepared and not ready.
But then my house isn’t doing what it was made for.
See I have this funny feeling this little homes purpose isn’t to impress.
Im pretty sure its purpose is to embrace.
My little house is no staged event and it doesn’t have to be. It’s where I lay my head and rest my heart and wear slippers till lunch time somedays. I’ll always be making it look nice and work well , I’ll always be making it as warm and welcoming as I cn that’s what I love doing – but perfect – not even nearly.
So what if I invited you in anyway.
It feels like a risk – because we think our homes tell people about who we are and – – what if it says the wrong thing?
Yet true hospitality isn’t about perfect thank God but everything to do with letting people in – ready or not. Its about connecting and accepting and including and that happens heart to heart when we let our guards down and kick our shoes off/ That doesn’t need sparkling cutlery and scented candles. It happens when it’s about you and not about how my house looks.
Hospitality is this:
”People should leave your presence feeling better about themselves, not better about you.” Shauna Niequist
Being such a housie I’m not sure it will ever come entirely naturally but Ive tested the theory of late. I’ve had a few impromptu visitors just recently and you know what – the walls didn’t cave in because I wasn’t all “prepared”, they didn’t leave in horror because the house wasn’t all sparkly, no scented candles, no home baked cookies, no “entertaining” going on, just the kids inhaling lunch and rampaging around the back yard while we drank a cuppa or two. People don’t need perfect or organised, but they might needed some good conversation, a listening ear and a place to relax and take a load off for a bit. Now that I can do any old day of the week – I’m made for that.
My head might think this:
But my heart says this:
But this works too
This probably won’t happen at my place
So even if this crazy brain say’s hospitality is too much hard work – my heart says – the door is open, come on in, be at ease, be yourself – and I may or may not take off the pink slippers.
I’m officially making having people over a non event.
Instead of trying to have everything perfectly organised I might just make sure the kettles on and/or the wines open and theres a comfy place for us to sit. And to make it easier for this stress head to open her home without too much thinking about it, heres a few very simple things I’ve done to take the pressure off. If you’ve got any more to add to the list share away below but for now I’m keeping it simple and uncomplicated.
- Keeping my table cleaned down. My dining room table is made for people to gather and that happens more when I keep her clutter free and ready. On an average day it’ll look something like this.
And I’ll spare you the bad days.
- I’ve made up another stash – cups, paper plates, tomato sauce (because kids cant seem to live without it) salt and pepper, paper napkins, some cutlery, which I’ve unceremoniously (after I took a nice photo) thrown into a basket that I can grab at a moments notice when needed. That’s a whole lot of things I don’t have to think about pulling together when there are few little mouths to feed in a hurry.
- And I’m keeping a few basic items for snacking on in the cupboards – yes up high away from the kids – that can be pulled out when needed. Salsa, corn chips, microwave popcorn always go down well as well as a few drinks – the rest of the food will just have to take care of itself on the day.
But – – – if the basket is empty and my secret stash has been raided and even if my table has sewing on and papers strewn, my door will be open and – – – – you’ll be welcome any way.
May we remember that as long as we answer the call to give attention to others without demanding theirs in return, we are true hospitality makers. And may we relax knowing that simple is always, always enough. Kristen Strong
Thanks so much for reading. Would love to hear your thoughts.