Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday Topic: Less stress hospitality


Ashley asked: Does anyone have tips for how to practice hospitality with minimal work/stress? Family life is pretty busy and exhausting right now and leaves me with very little energy for opening up our home. I want to be hospitable, but just don't have much to give. I'd love any ideas that you might have that make it easier to practice hospitality during the years with little ones!

(If you have a “Tuesday Topic” question, please email it to me at fylliska@gmail.com. Provide your blog address if you would like to be linked to, or specify if you would like to remain anonymous. Thanks!)

15 comments:

  1. for me, the biggest part is letting go of my expectations - the house may be picked up, but not spotlessly clean... and learning not to apologize for that. a lot of time, others don't even notice unless i call their attention to it. it is easy to make hospitality all about me, when it is supposed to be serving and welcoming another, regardless of where my comfort is. i love the fact that so many feel comfortable just dropping in at our house and still seem to feel comfortable even if the place is a bit of a disaster.

    some ideas i've tried: sitting outside for a cup of coffee or tea instead of a complete meal, inviting people for desert and a board game or game of cards instead of a meal (we've done root beer floats lately) meeting at a restaurant with a playland for the kids, inviting someone to join me for a walk/morning exercise and then enjoying a coffee and croissant. i mean, i can be sitting on a bench at a park watching my kids run and play... what can i do to make that bench a hospitable place where others want to be... feel safe being?

    one other thing we've found particularly convenient is being the host to a larger group and then asking others to bring something to share/pass.

    hospitality isn't something that comes naturally to me, but i've always had this sneaking suspicion that God teaches us much about having hearts welcome to Him and His work as we learn to be hospitable to people in our lives/communities around us.

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  2. I don't have any practical tips right off, but what Richelle said reminded me of something I've read: hospitality is focused on loving the guests and doesn't require perfection. Entertainment is focused more on showing off how well I can perform. We often get them confused.

    I loved Richelle's creative ideas!

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  3. I echo letting go of our expectations. I think we as westerners often have higher expectations of ourselves then we need to. Where we live in South Sudan I often choose to host outside but I know in Russia that isn't always possible. I also echo having others bring things but another thing I do is offer to bring food to another persons home (joint hosting) so I only need to focus on one aspect. Remember that at the heart of hospitality is showing someone that they are valued and loved this can be done in a messy house with just tea and no food, or through writing a card, dropping off food, a note, or even dropping off something you have bought instead of handmade, from the store.

    There are seasons of our life where hospitality looks as we long for it to look but often it is the act of offering what we have at the moment that is the gift not that it looks as we would want it to... sometimes at the moment all I have is a slice of bread when I would have wanted to offer a whole loaf, or the beans to make coffee when I would have preferred to host a ladies day but it is the art of giving what we in the moment gracefully that we can bless others not in inviting someone over to a pristine house for homemade food.

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  4. We have a family tradition of having breakfast for dinner on Sunday evenings. We often will invite people over on this evening for a casual, affordable way to show hospitality. We keep it low key as the waffles come off one at a time. I make some eggs or make a crustless quiche to save time, throw in some orange juice and it's done.
    Other days when we have people over if they offer to bring something I always say yes. Before I didn't want to inconvenience anyone, but I've learned that just taking one prep item off my list is tremendously helpful.

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  5. When our kids were younger and we invited people over, at first I had to have everything straightened up and spotless. Later, I just made sure the cat box was cleaned up (those of you with indoor pets know what I mean, bathroom clean, and our dining area neat. I also tried to plan a more simple menu such as spaghetti and sauce, bread, vegetable, dessert.

    Now when we invite people over, my husband wants to cook something ethnic - usually Chinese, or lasagna with homemade noodles. Since he's the one cooking, then it frees me up to make sure things are suitable for our invited friends, make sure we have soda pop and ice, and relax. :)

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  6. love all the low-key ideas! also, let's remember another facet of hispitality: facilitating the life of new arrivals to where we live. maybe that means taking your new friend on a guided trip to the market, telling them where the good deals on different produce is found, how to fin the local version of the DMV (and accompany them there!) or any such practical help.

    I had someone do this for me when I arrived in Africa, and when I think back, this was one of the most significant instances of the ministry of hospitality thàt I have ever received. it didnt involve her making me any food or cleaning house, but it was a very practical kind of hospitality that mad a huge difference to me.

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  7. I love all of these ideas and tips! Wonderful! Thank you! I especially will be filing away all of the non-meal ideas. Right now we can hardly even fit our own family around our table, so trying to host anyone for a meal is always really stressful (our other seating options are also very not ideal). Like you mentioned, Richelle, lately I've been inviting people to drink coffee and sit on the bench on the playground outside of our apartment building since it provides a way for my kids to be happy, my baby to sleep (he sleeps best outside...), and gives me a chance to actually have a decent conversation.

    I also love and always need the reminder not to be perfectionistic about the state if my home. I totally agree with this at heart, but it can be so hard to let go and really be ok with just letting things be messy as they often are at this phase. I could care less if someone else's house is messy when I'm there. Why do I think that others care about my mess?!

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  8. i just thought of one other thing we do... that isn't technically hospitality, but it does make hospitality easier. most nights, we set a timer for 30 minutes and right after dinner, EVERYONE spends that time picking up around the house. some nights, the place just gets back into livable condition, but other nights, middlers will scrub out toilets, straighten up cabinets, dust the bookshelves, etc. because it is such a short time and because we are all working together, it is a bit easier of a pill to swallow. with 10 of us working, that is the equivalent of at least 3 hours of my work...

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    Replies
    1. You are a genius, Richelle!

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    2. This is just great!! I'll have to try it sometime!

      Actually (beware... proud mommy moment!), my oldest two (5 and 7) have recently gotten excited about "surprising mom" by cleaning up the house and setting the table for dinner when I manage to sneak in a nap while the youngest two sleep. They amaze me with what they can do, and that they find such satisfaction in blessing me and making our house look pretty. It is fun to see that taking care of the house can really be much more of a shared family thing, and that my kids even find enjoyment in taking care of our home. Now to just keep this little trend going! =)

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    3. :-)

      one of my favorite things to do is to work quietly in my bedroom and listen while my 4, 6, and 8 year old wash, dry and put away the dishes. their conversations crack me up!!!

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  9. This is a hard one for me because Turks are SO hospitable, and go over the top sometimes with food preparation, but I try to stay relaxed myself!!!! Here are a few things I do:

    1. Have a few default company meals that I prepare often so they're easy.
    2. Save some of the work (like making a salad) for my guests to help me with! It gives us something to do together!
    3. Have a simple desert like a bar of chocolate broken up into pieces with tea and fruit.
    4. Have people over for Saturday breakfast.

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  10. I'm learning that with little ones, it is almost impossible to get the house in the condition I want it for a get-together without being stressed. Inevitably, something gets terribly messed up right before the guests should arrive. So I've let go of planning events for the time. Instead, I've found that and encouraging friends and neighbors to come over spontaneously has freed me up so much. Since it is a spontaneous, "Come on over," I feel like the expectations are lower. If they have kids, having a mess of toys could help them feel more comfortable to just start playing. It seems like people are more comfortable coming over when they know they are welcome anytime, even when I have to whisk the undergarments into hiding!

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    1. amen!!! and isn't it fun to have a home where people feel comfortable to just drop by?

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  11. I know I'm the one who asked the question, but I have one thing that has helped me that I thought I'd share for others collecting ideas. I often batch cook meals and we eat one as the day I make it and I freeze another batch. This helps so I have meals on hand and can have guests over and not even have to cook the day of!

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