Day 31 :: What I Learned About Hospitality in October

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I
‘ve learned a lot about hospitality over the years.  Mostly from seeing the generous, gracious sharing of homes modeled by others, the rest by my own trial and error.

But this month, even as I wrote about all that I believe to be true or have found helpful, I learned a few new things.

Over the last 31 days, I traveled to Canada, Chicago, and Ohio, hosted new friends for dinner, and filled my home with a couple dozen peeps for a potluck.

Through all of that, I’ve been reminded that simple is beautiful, bread is awesome, and the best way to beat perfectionism is one mismatched dish at a time.

Hospitality Lessons From October

1.) Someone else’s couch can be the perfect place to end the day.

Provided that it’s covered in a handmade quilt, abuts the bed of a friendly (yet super low-key) dog, and/or has chocolates on the pillow.  Couches can be made cozy.  I will no longer feel sad for the guest whose only option is ours.

2.) Simple seasonal decorations really are the best kind.

There is just something wonderful about seeing a pile of pumpkins, gourds, and branches on someone’s mantel.  For me, fall was inaugurated by those simple adornments.

3.) Homemade (or fresh from the bakery) bread is the highlight of any meal.

Despite my dabbling in eating grain-free, I will always chose a baguette and butter over most other options.  Thankfully, this month, I dined with some like-minded folks.

4.) No one cares if your dishes don’t match.

I don’t have empirical evidence to support this claim, just an absence of complaints from my last potluck dinner in which none of the dishes matched.

But I’m pretty confident it’s true.  And using those mismatched dishes was one more step in my recovery from perfectionism.

5.) Help with dishes is the ultimate act of kindness to a mother of small children.

After the potluck, I surveyed the mountains of (mismatched) dirty dishes over the heads of the two babies I held.  (Really? They both needed to be held?)

And I decided to break my cardinal rule of cleaning the kitchen before going to bed.

But then a blessed voice asked, “Are you sure you don’t want any help with the dishes?”

What?

“Um, no, I’m not sure about that at all.  I would love help with the dishes.  Knock yourself out.”

And bless that sweet boy’s–and his fiance’s–heart, they did all my dishes.

6.) Say yes to help.  Really.

I proclaim this regularly, but am still tempted to decline assistance, even when I’d really like it.

But I’m never sorry I when I say yes.  It reminds me of my own limitations, need of others, and gratitude for friends.

And thus ends our 31 Days of Real, Simple Hospitality. Thanks for sticking around!!

Have you learned anything new about hospitality this month–from experience or otherwise?

This is a post from a 31-day series on Real, Simple Hospitality.  Read all the other posts here.  Check out all the other 31 Day-ers here.

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About Jenn

Jenn is a mommy of three and wife to her best friend. She enjoys good books, dinner guests, elevenses, and proper apostrophe use.

  • YAY!!!!!!!!!!! Jenn, you did it! And I loved every post! Really. I love your heart and your love of people. I’d love to pull up a seat under your table.

  • Loved, loved reading your posts and so appreciated the nudge to open my home more. And actually, we have. We’ve hosted more in this past month then we have for many months. Thanks for washing dishes here and sharing bread and butter with us. XO

  • I really enjoyed your series, and am so glad that I found your blog too! You really did a great job of removing all the fuss from hospitality and making is appear simple. I love the idea of things not needing to be perfect, I need to remember this! Thanks so much for this, new reader for life! 🙂

    • Oh, I’m so glad you found it all simple and fuss-free, Victoria! That was the idea, but I’m never totally sure how things come across to others :).

      And, yes, letting go (over time :)) of perfection has been so freeing for me.

      Thanks for your kind words and for sticking around!

  • I just found you through Modern Mrs. Darcy- sorry to have arrived at the end of this great accomplishment but I will look forward to visiting again!