by Nina Nelson

Nina is a wellness coach, healer and author at Shalom Mama, where she helps families simplify wellness. She loves simplicity, natural remedies, Americanos and miniature horses. Nina and her husband live in central Oregon.

Simple table arrangement

On simple hospitality

Growing up, we always had people at our house. Whether it was family or school friends, my parents were quick to invite people over for a meal (my dad’s authentic Mexican cooking is legendary). But often, it went beyond filling bellies.

People kept coming back because my parents offered more than just delicious food – they offered love, acceptance and unbelievable generosity.

I saw them welcome guests into their home that they didn’t even know because their car broke down. They opened up rooms for people to stay in. Sometimes it was temporary, like when my cousin’s brothers-in-law from France decided to visit the U.S. and needed a place to stay. Sometimes it was on a more permanent basis for friends whose home situation wasn’t the best.

They’ve been modeling simple hospitality for as long as I can remember.

I shared a few months ago that the thing I loved about moving out of our bus was the many chances we’ve had for practicing hospitality. I wasn’t too keen on moving out in the first place and my hope was that our new house would at least give us opportunities to host guests in our home.

And it has. But not in the way I expected.

When we moved, I envisioned dinner parties, with guests talking in our cozy, well-decorated living room (I picked up The Nesting Place right before we moved and it may have inspired my daydreams) before enjoying a meal at our farmhouse table topped with a few perfectly pulled-off Pinterest projects.

I’m not sure that’s ever going to happen.

What has happened, though, has been even better (though I do have a vision of a fun dinner party for my birthday). Instead, we often find ourselves practicing hospitality in more simple, intimate ways that don’t end up on Instagram.

We’ve been following my parents’ model of just letting people know they’re welcome. Anytime.

Since we’ve moved in, we’ve sipped microbrews with friends and played countless games of Settlers of Catan. My dear neighbor drops in for coffee or tea a few times a week when my house is far from spotless. And we’ve filled some bellies, too, often with simple bowls of beans and rice topped with my dad’s homemade salsa.

What I’ve learned is that hospitality isn’t about the state of my home or complexity of my meals. It’s about showing people I love them in simple ways. With coffee. Or beer. Or by allowing them into my mess so they can see that perfection isn’t a prerequisite to being loved by our family – not for us, not for them.

It means welcoming people in, no matter what.

How do you practice simple hospitality?

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