Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

This week over at Rocks in My Dryer, Shannon is hosting another works for me Wednesday. This week's themed topic is "What DOESN'T Work for Me Wednesday"! So, since I have been wanting to blog about this anyway, I am going to blog about why entertaining does not work for me.

We love having people over. I love people to drop in for coffee. I love to visit and chat and walk through the yard or sit in the rocking chairs. I love for people to feel at home here. So why don't I like to entertain? Here's the hitch: I am striving for hospitality. The difference, you ask? Simple. It's your motives. Entertaining is when you work your hiney off to impress your guests. When you cook a whole meal that is time consuming, but impressive. You are wanting people to notice your great cooking, your fine decorating, etc.

Hospitality is working to make your guests feel comfortable. Now, don't get me wrong, I like to cook yummy food for my guests, and I love a pretty table. I enjoy decorating our home the way we like it, but I do this for comfort, not for style. I don't let it stop me from having company because I don't feel like cooking. Some of our best times have been ordering pizza and just hanging out. I have been known to decide after church on Sunday afternoon to start a big pot of chili and invite several couples over after the evening service. Chili. Cheese. Crackers. Tea. Good fellowship! What else can you ask for? We've also done potlucks where I just fix a dish, provide plates and forks, and clean my toilet. Good times.

Now, those of you who know me in real life know that I am not a great housekeeper. When you come over, you might have to move a stack of laundry out of the way, and I might have to pull clean coffee mugs out of the dishwasher (somedays I might even have to wash one). I don't have a perfectly clean house. I don't have perfectly clean or well behaved kids. My bassett hound will try to sit in your lap. But this is home. All are welcome here.

When we have dinners just have couples over, I do try to get things looking nicer. I run the vacuum, and I set the table. Joel comes home five minutes early and helps hide some of the clutter. But, when you're here, we don't want you to feel like company, we want you to feel like family. And, when supper's over, please don't clean the kitchen, this is supposed to be a treat. A break. Get some coffee, and let's go sit in the living room. Dishes have never run away from the sink overnight. They'll be there tomorrow and I can do them then as I reflect back on the good times we had.

Check out what doesn't work for everyone else here.


Mrs. B said...

Hi Hadley! This is great! I'm so relieved to hear I'm not the only mom in blogland that doesn't have an immaculate house all the time! When we're expecting company, I run around the house and hide lots of clutter (the laundry room works well I've found). We do both types of entertaining. Sometimes we have more elaborate dinners where we work hard to prepare and sometimes it's relaxed, pot luck or pizza. My hubby actually does most of the cooking and making elaborate meals is something he really enjoys, so for him it's actually part of the fun, not just a lot of work. If it were me doing the cooking, we'd probably never have those fancy dinners! If we're just having family over, we'll still sometimes have the gourmet food, but I don't worry as much about the clutter, because they already know what things normally look like!

Kristen said...

Hear hear! And as a guest, I must say I am more comfortable in a house that isn't "perfect". When the hostess is trying to impress me, I feel like I also have to be on my best behavior. I much prefer the family-like gatherings when people are free to relax and be themselves.

Cindy said...

Hadley, thanks for posting on my blog about your car seat commiseration. Glad to hear I'm not the only one!

BTW, your blog here reminds me of a Bible Study we did two years ago on Biblical womanhood and the topic of entertaining vs. hospitality was raised. I agree that if we're entertaining, it's about us, but if we're showing hospitality, it's about our guests. Thanks for the reminder!

Kimba said...

I saw your comment at Nester's and thought I'd pop over and say hi. I'm really enjoying reading your blog. I'll definitely be back!

Thanks for posting this. I really needed this reminder. I can get caught up in entertaining which shifts my focus from hospitality. I love the distinction. I want our home to be a place of ministry to everyone who comes in.

Thanks for the reminder.

Steph said...

I'm with you. I love hospitality! Don't ask me to be perfect, but I will make you perfectly comfortable. What a great post!