Opening our homes means risk

avatar
by Sandy

Sandy Coughlin is an author, blogger, wife, and mom to three children. She lives in Oregon and loves to develop recipes, cook, and host dinner parties. Read more at Reluctant Entertainer.

Warmer connections come when we’re willing to take a chance.

If you’ve been following my 31 Days of Warm Connections series, I’m sharing today about friendships. I have friendships that go back almost 50 years—some 40, 30, 20, 10, as well as more recent friends. I’ve always told my daughter that friends are like a beautiful bouquet of flowers. The more you have, the more stunning the bouquet.

Last month, two of my newer friends came to my house on a Friday morning. All week long, I thought about my commitments, my list of chores, the last part of the garden that needed harvesting, canning, blogging … you name it. The list in my mind became overwhelming, and I tried to talk myself out of the invitation I had already made.


I wrote about our fast-paced world, how we naturally get into routines and rhythms with our families and schedules, and how busyness sets in. Even though we naturally long to spend time with family and friends, and we all need encouragement, we often lose sight of what’s important.

Busyness. A demanding schedule is the biggest hindrance to getting together with those we love.

Disinterest. Sometimes, sadly, we’re just not interested in others.

Disappointment. We stop connecting when we’re hurt or others don’t reciprocate.

Neglect. We forget that relationships are eternal, the most important thing in our lives.

And then there’s our homes.

My house. Do I really want to clean and get ready for these two new lady friends that have “moved” into my life? Won’t they be looking at my house?

Oh, the risk that’s involved in opening our homes. I know I’m not the only one who struggles with these blood-sucking, joy-stealing thoughts:

Is it clean enough?

Will they see the piles in the corner?

Just look at the kitchen cabinets that are streaked with tomato juice from canning.

Will they notice the dust bunnies on the floor?

Do I really have to serve food?

Will they judge me if I buy store-bought food?

Look at my dirty windows.

I haven’t dusted in two weeks.

My bathroom is so outdated.

Can I settle my mind and learn more about my friends?

What will we talk about?

Will they like me?

What will they think of me? Me, me, me.

I think about my insecurities, and I clearly see why inviting others into our homes is so risky.

We’re so worried about ourselves, and what others think, that it absolutely ruins us.

Most of the time, people aren’t even thinking about us, they’re thinking of themselves and their own insecurities. Moments of joy, encouragement, inspiration, authenticity, even tears and bearing of our souls to one another are taken away when we say “No.”

So this time I pushed past my fears and I said yes.

Fiona and Jenny came over after taking their kids to school on a Friday morning. I have teenagers; they each school-aged children and Fiona a baby. We talked about life, friendships, the loneliness of moving into a new town, the church community, how to get involved, people who are hospitable, people who are not (in general, no names). It’s good to have close-knit friends to share life. We’re made for needing each other, for connection and for helping one another, for accountability, and for love.

When Fiona asked what she could bring, I thought, why not? I’ll let her bring the morning goodies. Why do I have to do it all? I’ll provide the coffee or ice water. I’ll find a flower in my yard for a vase. I’ll tidy up the area where the three of us can sit and talk for an hour. I’ll listen and engage and ask questions about their lives because I care.

I’ll look into their eyes and feel their pain, and we’ll rejoice in our blessings.

I’m never disappointed when we invite people into our home. The best gifts in life are our relationships, the blessings of eating and drinking together, listening, and feeling.

When’s the last time you said “Yes” and invited others into your home, even for just a short visit? How did you feel when your guests left?

Join the Conversation

Like This? Subscribe for free and have it delivered to your inbox.

Comments

  1. I do not entertain for some of the very reasons you have listed. I intentionally do not try to meet new people because I am steadfast in my homebody ways.

    • avatar
      Lorraine R. says:

      Ohhhh Seriously Sassy Mama, I do pray that you begin to allow Jesus to remove those insecurities, fears and walls that you’ve built up. Not only are other people missing out on beautiful opportunities with you, you are also missing out on numerous blessings <3 Be brave sister and invite someone in <3

    • I agree with Lorraine (below) that you could be robbing others from knowing YOU. Even when we’re busy at home, it’s good to reach out! :) Thanks for being honest..

    • I agree with Lorraine (below) that you could be robbing others from knowing YOU. Even when we’re busy at home, it’s good to reach out! Thanks for being honest..

    • Sassy Mama, I am not usually this bold, but I would encourage you to repent of your selfishness. Jesus laid down his life for us. He calls us to take up our cross daily and follow him. This means dying to our own desires. I struggle with the same thing, so I say this with understanding and all the love I have. Please don’t continue to live only for yourself. There is a world out thee that needs the Jesus you have.

  2. Oh my goodness you put this SO Perfectly! This is such a HUGE deal, because we so often allow our insecurities to keep us from ministering the gospel. The more I am open the more freedom I hand over to the Lord to use me.
    The Lord uses us most often when we dont allow our comfort zones to rule us! I LOVE this post and am SO sharing! Thank you!

  3. I was just writing about this very thing on my blog! Also inspired by Debra Hirsch’s thoughts on the subject. Thanks for sharing, confirming, and challenging.

  4. We recently moved long distance into a small temporary rental home. I have not invited anyone here yet. The quarters are so small. It is clean and we are unpacked. I’m ready for guests but have not made friends like that yet.

    We have been asked to host large numbers of kids here for social things for homeschool group and for sports team. We have no normal yard so the outside thing was impossible, literally. We have no room indoors for 40 teens, so I declined that.

    My friends at the old place never minded the dust bunnies in far corners or piles on counters but a clean kitchen and eating area and a clean guest bathrom was important!

    • Christine, can you help out with these groups in other homes? Offer to help bring the food, to be a part of it? I think hospitality starts in the kitchen … any kitchen (doesn’t have to be your own) just by talking, getting to know others, sharing your life, all while preparing the food. :) I agree, clean kitchen and bathroom! :)

  5. BEAUTIFUL post! I love the title of your blog: “Reluctant Entertainer.” I’m not a good cook/decorator, and I always get stressed when people come over. Thank you for your great encouragement!

  6. I love your points about worry, insecurity, and the importance of relationships and hospitality. Absolutely true.

    I think there has to be balance. I simply can’t let someone through the door when my house is a truly awful mess. As Christine mentioned, a clean kitchen and bathroom are minimum standards. Those aren’t impossible to achieve, however. I can and should invite people over, even if that’s one of the few motivations I have to get my home in better shape.

    The longer I go between hosting people, the easier it is for messes to accumulate. So having people over more often would be a helpful reality check.

    • It is motivation for many people (house picked up, you feel better about inviting.) Some of my best hospitable moments have been with a messy house. We sat and talked about real life situations. It just felt “right,” and when my guest left, I realized that something amazing had taken place. The conversation, and “being together” (offering a cup of coffee) superseded our surroundings. :)

  7. How timely! I took a risk this week and have invited a new friend over to my house tomorrow for the first time. This is totally not me. I am trying not to worry about all the insecurities… and the joy-stealing thoughts that you have written about.

  8. Thanks for this post! I’ve really wanted to cancel things before because of the state of the house. I never end up canceling because I feel like if someone can’t love me in a messy house, could they really love me? I actually had a few friends drop by a few days ago, and I was embarrassed to let them see my mess, but on the other hand, I tell myself that I’m keeping it real.

    • I’ve been embarrassed many times, and I find myself making excuses. I’ve gotten better about moving on to why the friends have dropped by in the first place. (For sure not to see my house! ha!) I also remind myself that I am a very busy person and live in a normal home. :) Thanks for sharing, Erin!

  9. I can really relate to this. I am not a terribly confident person on a good day, but I’d rather walk around town in a bikini than have an impromptu gathering at my house.

  10. I just had two friends over who have never seen our house. I know that she keeps a beautiful home, and my insecurities were raging. I had to fight (HARD) to keep myself from explaining that we just moved in recently… the landlord won’t let us paint… I haven’t gotten around to putting curtains up, which I know would cozy the place up… I had a million things to say as to why our home looks like it does and does not look picture perfect. This is timely. It was all insecurity. Gah. This is hard.

    • Hi, Katherine. I think sometimes we over-explain our situations, which sheds more light on our insecurities. Maybe a quick … “we’re still getting settled,” … and then move on. Easy to say, hard to do. Thanks for being real, sister! :)

  11. Love this. We just moved to a new area, as a part of a big ministry opportunity. In one summer, we had more out-of-town houseguests than we had in the previous 11 years. (http://missionallendale.wordpress.com/2011/08/14/house-party/)

    My wife will tell you that she’s grown in this area a ton in the past 5-6 years, and I agree. It used to be so stressful to get the house perfectly clean and straightened up, for the sake of “hospitality.” But it was so stressful for us. Plus, have you ever noticed the comfort you feel when you go to a friend’s house, and there is a little bit of clutter or dust? It let’s you know that among friends, you don’t have to be perfect.

  12. I really enjoyed this post.

    It is so true that I often turn down hosting or volunteering to host because I know I will need to take a day off of work or something to clean the house to my satisfaction. It may be overkill, but I don’t want others to see my home as messy or dirty. Yet, I love the IDEA of having a company ready home so that I can foster relationships in my home. :)

    • Mine is rarely “company ready.” I work part time, we have 3 teens, life gets crazy and it happens “in our home.” LOL I usually look around and see what kind of quick picking up I can do. “Satisfaction” is a big word, isn’t it? :)

  13. I think I have shared this with you before Sandy. I used to worry about the overall appearance of our home prior to guests coming, but I found that most of my guests were actually the ones uncomfortable in my “too clean” house…they felt they didn’t measure up, and then would not be comfortable inviting us the their home because of it. I learned to lighten up, my friends are coming to see me, not my home.

    • You have, Lauren, and I bet that you’ve helped many women along the way! Lightening up not only helps us, as women, but our families (who probably hate it when we’re so uptight!). Thanks for sharing!

  14. Love this post! I so agree that I never regret inviting people into my home, even if it does require some extra work before and afterwards. I tend to be someone that keeps a pretty tidy house. Clutter drives me nuts and I try hard to keep things pretty organized and put away, especially at the end of the day (I have a 2 year old and 4 year old so the house can get a little crazy during the day). But I have friends who are much more relaxed about their homes and don’t mind some clutter and it really doesn’t matter to me at all what their homes look like. If they invite me over, I am simply happy for the invitation and the time spent together. I just wanted to put that out there – that most people probably won’t notice or care too much if your home has some piles, dust bunnies, isn’t sparkling clean. I can definitely relate to the stress and anxiety related to having people over but I also try to look at it from both sides of my own experience. At the end of the day, hopefully it is the growing friendships and shared experiences we will remember the most.

  15. Thank you for this post. We have people over on a regular basis–a certain group weekly, but a variety of others once or twice a week as well. We really enjoy hosting, but it seems we are always the ones initiating. When I feel held back from making additional invitations, it’s because of this one you stated: “Disappointment. We stop connecting when we’re hurt or others don’t reciprocate.”

    • Carrie. I know. I hear it over and over from readers and friends and it’s really painful. I wish I had the answer. I think many of us feel pain in this area so we need to turn it around (if we have kids) and make sure to teach them about the lost art of reciprocation. In the meantime, it’s still important to keep reaching out! :)

    • Carrie – love that you pointed out Sandy’s encouragement not to be disappointed. We are usually the initiators too. I have discovered that some of our friends feel overwhelmed by the idea of entertaining while others are going through difficult times that make it hard for them to cope with anything else. I think it’s kind of a blessing we can offer them. And, I’ve learned (since we’re all kind of at the same young kids place) to let them contribute to the evening’s dinner when they ask. It seems to put everyone more at ease.

  16. Amazing text, thanks.

  17. I think the biggest block to opening up our home wasn’t so much about what folks would think about the mess and all – well there was that when I first got married, but I got less concerned as the number of kids increased… The hardest thing for me to overcome was the assumption that folks wouldn’t want to visit a home with eight kids – who would be mad enough!!! Once I got over that, I realized that folks really wanted to visit us there was no holding back!!! We now have an open home with moms of tots and students and kids and anyone really popping in whenever… My mom in law says our home is like a station – but obviously we like a little bit of chaos – and hope that our home is a haven for companions seekers. I wrote about it here: http://www.se7en.org.za/2010/04/20/sunday-snippet-hospitality-begins-at-home

  18. We haven’t had people over in quite a while, other than my kids and their families. I know I should consider it for the holidays…
    I have been dealing with depression and other issues and it is just difficult even on a good day to feel like I can prepare my house and make it company ready. I know I should get over it!
    Great post. I am going to reread again!

  19. We have friends and family over all the time….and really enjoy it. But rarely do we get invited to other homes {just to our long time friends who know us well}…..I’ve even had people tell me….after they visit” we had such a great time can’t wait until the next time you have us over….but don’t expect to have dinner at my house….I could never have you over and let you see my mess, plus you cook way better than I do”….it’s saddens me to think that they think I judge their homes….I do not.
    I find myself NOT inviting new people {staying with the tried and true friends} just because I don’t what those new to us to feel uncomfortable.
    We as women are so hard on ourselves and each other…..just wish we as a whole wouldn’t judge each other by the way we cook or clean.
    Thanks for this post.

    • I agree. I’ve learned that when I invite others over now, I have NO expectations. It makes it much easier when we just let it go and enjoy the moment. I like to think that we can make an impact on others, and not focus on “I wonder if they’ll have us over.” If that makes sense … Thanks for being real, girl! :)

  20. This is a good post!

    I was so proud of myself for inviting a couple over for Sunday dinner- that is not an easy time, we would rather take a nap- but it went really well

    When someone offers to bring something- ALWAYS say yes- “a salad”—less stress

    • Great comment. I love “we would rather take a nap.”

      When it’s all said and done, and the door closes on the company, I’m always so happy that we said, Yes!

      And yes to delegation – always! :)

    • I laughed so hard when I read your comment. That is, sadly, often the reason I don’t want to do something. With little ones, I would rather be sleeping – haha.

  21. Love this post. I spent years NOT inviting friends over because I was afraid my house was not clean enough. But, we realized we were missing out on a lot of great opportunities to enjoy our friends. So, now – even if the whole cleaning list isn’t complete – we still open our home to our friends and they love it. I like to think that I keep my house just under perfection to make sure my friends feel at ease (wink!). We always have a wonderful time anyway!

  22. A cousin of mine with a son recently came to visit us at our home. I woke up in the middle of night thinking about all the half done projects in my home…never did go back to sleep though I reminded myself the house is basically pretty clean and my cousin isn’t coming to tour my house but rather to visit with my family! I wish it wasn’t like that. I have to admit though, it’s incentive to try to finish at least some of the project before Thanksgiving and Christmas!

    • I’ll admit, too, that having guests over does bring some sort of incentive. I need the big “push” sometimes to finish a project. I don’t mind this at all ( love being motivated), but having to remind myself, like you did, that they are really coming to see us! :)

  23. This is a great post! For years I’ve often gotten bogged down in all my to-dos which has caused me to neglect relationships. We all need to connect and share our lives with others. I am really starting to embrace that and try not to worry about my house and my schedule and just try to reach out and have a friend over. I always feel good when I do. Just did the other day and my house was so not perfect or even very clean, but no one cared and we had a great time chatting.

  24. I absolutely love this post. It says so much of what’s on my own heart, for better or for worse, about hospitality and my home, and even just relationships. It’s nearly always a stretch to extend beyond ourselves and our little worlds, but I always remind myself that if I just stay in my comfort zone all the time, that comfort zone will keep getting smaller.

  25. P.S. A friend of mine says her messy house is her “Gift” to her friends, as they will stop feeling self-conscious about their own houses when they come to hers. I had her over last week and announced when she walked in, “I have a gift for you!” :-)

  26. Thank you so much for this post! It’s so easy to say no or to bail on previously extended invitations for one reason or another. But even if the walls are not the color I want them to be or the carpets are not vacuumed, opening yourself to another person is more than worth the risk of being judged. Thanks again!

  27. Thank you! I have such a hard time making friends, I feel like it’s more of a burden than a blessing. Your post opened my eyes, I never thought of it being my insecurities that were interfering with my ability to make friends. And I love entertaining and have family over almost on a daily basis for meals or fellowship but I’m so reluctant to have friends over. This is definitely something I have to work on!

  28. I love to read your encouragement to open up our homes… as they are…as we are! Through your wise words and example, I have started to open up my home, as imperfect as it is, this has done so good to my soul.
    Thanks Sandy!

  29. Wow Thank You SOOO much for being such a blessing to me in what you said! How very true this is when we prize worldly fears over Godly treasures~

  30. I totally agree with Sandy. Relationships are the greatest gift and we need to take time to nurture and develop them. Inviting people into our homes might be scary, but is is worth it – it is a way of developing our bonds and connecting. I entertain all the time, especially around Jewish holidays and the Sabbath (friday night and saturday day). In fact, I am writing this comment in between preparations for yet another dinner I am going to have at my house on Friday. I am baking challah and apple cake. I love taking the time to prepare a special meal, set a lovely table, and then enjoy it with old or new friends and relatives.

  31. For me, the rewards of hospitality always seem to outweigh the challenges or fears. I think the first time you have someone over and the house isn’t perfect is the hardest – then you realize you and they had a good time, that there was true fellowship anyway, and you feel courage to do it again.

    I try to keep my bathroom clean, but even fail at that sometimes. But I’ll have company 2-3 times a week – some planned, some spontaneous. Always blessed.

  32. When I was growing up, my mom would rarely let me invite friends over because she was embarrassed about how messy our house was. I promised myself I would never let a bit of mess get in the way of connecting with people. I knew that my friends didn’t care what my house looked like. If they did, what kind of friends were they?

    I still believe this, but I must admit that I don’t invite people over very often because our visiting space is cluttered. I’m working on striking a balance–having it just clean enough. . .

    I did though commit to hosting a monthly artist group meeting at my house, with a few other moms. Partly because I feel confident they’re not going to judge me. And partly as a motivation to do some cleaning!

  33. You’ve convinced me! My biggest problem is one of the ones you mentioned: simple neglect. I neglect to tend to relationships by inviting people over. Then, before I know it, I’ve gone months without having anyone into my home. The worst is when I get through a Christmas season and realize no one besides my three family members even saw the decorations I put out! Not that the decorations are that big of a deal, but it means no one has come in for coffee, to visit, to eat a meal or play a board game. Shame on me!

    I’m going to make it a point to invite a friend or two over next week for a simple lunch or coffee. Thanks for the gentle push. I needed this!

  34. I have chronic migraines and never know how I’m going to feel, so I rarely invite people anymore because I don’t want to have to cancel at the last moment because I’m in bed with a migraine. To many experiences with the gossipy-rude people who just don’t understand chronic migraines.

  35. After being married for 9 years and in this house for 7, I am finding that I really DO enjoy having people over. I love the company, and I really need to do it more. I, too, find many excuses not to have people over. Thinking about those excuses now… they are pretty lame. Thank you for this post!!

  36. avatar
    Rita Gleason says:

    Love this post. I agree business can so easily turn into an excuse to decline an invitation or not give an invitation. I grew up in a town where our door was always open, welcoming friends that were just in the neighborhood. And us just stopping by to say hi and supprise someone. I feel like in my 30 short years times have really changed. It is nearly an act of God for two schedules to align it seems. Thank you for this reminder to take the risk. I always love having visited and decompressed and encouraged and been encouraged. It makes for a more centered relaxed mama.

  37. This topic hurts to read, but I’m glad you wrote about it. I’m sad to admit I don’t have close friends except my sister and my son’s godparents. I’m an introvert, have always had a hard time making conversation with others (my dh is the exact opposite!) and often long after the other women in groups who can easily laugh and chat and already know each other. Perhaps I’ve hidden behind my excuses of shyness and fears of rejection too long. My mother is the same way as me, and I’m sad that she’s without deep women friendships, too. Thank you for the reminder to keep working on this.

  38. I live on a ranch and our county has a rural pre-school program. I offered to have a couple of the other ranch moms bring their kids over for pre-school every Friday. Only one other mom has accepted so far, but its really fun opportunity to open up my house, get to know other women and is a great reason for keeping up with my cleaning schedule! Nothing better then a kitchen covered in freshly painted pre-school art projects to start the weekend!

  39. Your post so made me smile! I went through the same process a year or so ago. I wasn’t just holding people away from my house though, I was holding them out of my heart too. I worried that they would see what was really there – the good and the bad, the clean and the clutter – and it ended up just leaving me empty in so many ways. So one day when our son was very small (and I was nursing more than cleaning) and our daughter was 2 1/2, I decided that I’d rather let people into my home and heart, let them judge or help :) than live life afraid of LOVE of all things! Since that day (my visitor actually had to move clean laundry off the couch to sit) not only has our house become a wonderful place full of people we love who stop by, but it’s also cleaner…and I can’t help but think my heart is too :) Our life overflows with love now, and we are so incredibly thankful for it.

  40. You really hit a nerve with me here. Recently a neighbor dropped by with a beautiful basket of bounty from her garden. A gift. For me. I thought the gesture so generous, how could I not invite her in. But my house. Not anywhere near perfect.
    I bravely asked her in knowing full well this woman’s house in constant, pristine House Beautiful condition. What would she think of me? Of the house, so unready for guests.
    Turned out I made the right decision. It wasn’t about the house, or it’s lack of tidiness and order. It was about the half hour of conversation, the sudden sense of comfort I felt just chatting with her. It was about waving to a neighbor next time and knowing that I’ve made an effort to really get to know her. I like that.

  41. This was a really great post, and Sandy, I really appreciated all the feedback you gave readers. I know that everyone is busy, so it was nice to see you taking that time to get back to most everyone!

    I worked in a library in high school and stumbled across a book called “Open Heart, Open Home” by Karen Mains, and it totally created my perspective on having people over. I am now 22 and have been married for 3 years. Whenever we have people over, beyond my house being generally clean, I never concerned myself with the house being spotless. What took away from Karen’s book was that people come to your home to spend time with YOU and that you bless people by making them comfortable BECAUSE our house isn’t perfect. I am after creating a loving atmosphere rather than a magazine house.

    My best friend where we live right now, even after two years, apologizes if the house isn’t perfect. Ever time I tell her I don’t care and that I am there to hang with her, not her clean or dirty house.

    It is just freeing to not be a perfectionist anymore.

  42. I just recently invited a neighbor in to my house on one of the worst days – it was beyond a mess! Hubby was out of town and I had let it get so out of control…and then she knocked on my door. She’d had a bad day…What do I do? I took a deep breath and invited her in. Wow, so blessed, and she probably noticed the chaos but she has kids, she understands, and she needed someone to talk to right at that moment and I was willing. Life changing day for me! I am learning to take my eyes off of me and onto Jesus and the people he wants me to share life with…oh, it’s so simple yet so hard! Thanks for the encouraging post to keep on it!

  43. new playdate this saturday…very excited and nervous!

  44. Thank you for the reminders, as I think just these stories and a nudge will help so many (like myself) who sometimes succumb to the same insecurities.

  45. I love your post here. I use to be that person you are talking about but many years ago the Lord helped me with this and now I have people over ALL the time.

    We try to have other families over at least two times a month. My dad comes for dinner every Monday. I try once a month when my dad is coming to have other relatives over with him.

    Every other month we host a meal with my husband’s brothers and their families also.
    Each year his family comes here to have the Thanksgiving meal together.

    I love inviting young families from church over for dinner and spending time with time.

    I promise you if you feel uncomfortable having people over because you think your home is not nice enough… put that thought behind you. I was so happy once I got past that. I once read a statement someone made about showing hospitality in home. – ” They are coming to visit with you not buy your house”. Lol… Changed my mind forever once I read that.

    Thank you again for your post here.
    Pat

  46. Thank you for this post! It was an encouragement. I do have people over regularly, and like to have the house tidy for company, but sometimes when people drop by they see the ‘real’ me. Even though I can find my messy house a little embarrassed I guess I would rather them see me as a normal human they can relate too, rather than someone who appears to have it all together and doesn’t! Plus I know that the times I’ve seen friend’s messy houses I certainly don’t think less of them, in fact it just makes me feel better!

  47. I really appreciate this post. I find that, often, one of my biggest fears of inviting people over is: “maybe they already have enough friends and don’t need/want another person taking their time.” I’m not sure where this fear is rooted, but I find that it pops up quite frequently! I am thinking it can’t be true! Perhaps the best thing to do is to extend a welcoming invitation to people and believe that, as adults, it’s their responsibility to turn it down if they have too many commitments already.

    Thanks, Sandy, for your words. You have re-inspired me to take step;s of faith in reaching out to others.

  48. avatar
    sue knickerbocker says:

    “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained strangers unaware” Hebrews 13:2

  49. Great post. Tonight I invited in some friends for a casual pumpkin carving get together. Our schedules have been really full lately so it meant I had less energy for entertaining and baking and preparing. But, our family values people, and friendships, so it was worth it to me to open our home and spend time with friends.

    I had to be okay with a pot of chili and store bought rolls for dinner. But, it was great. I never regret time spent opening our home! But I definitely have to choose people over perfection, every single time just to make it possible.

  50. I am having my first La Leche League meeting here in about 18 years. My kids are all grown and my grandson and his parents (my son and his wife) live with us. He is 10 months old.

    I used to have the philosophy that I am not doing anyone any favours by cleaning up my house. It is generally clean. Of course I never had a dog 18 years ago so I have a bit more dog hair around. And when I say generally clean I mean that to some people it would be considered as untidy.

    My daughters friend came over for the first time many years ago and the first words out of her mouth was, “Gee, what a messy house you have.”

    Yup, it is messy. And now with all of the recycling that piles up there is even more “untidiness”.

    So I say, Messy House Mum’s lets stand together and let people know that we care about “people before things” in our houses. And a clean house usually means that no one “lives” there.

    Of course any point of view is just the form of making the house owner (namely me) feel better about the situation.

    Still I stand proud and open the door. Let’s see who shows up and who feels comfortable here.

  51. Sandy, thanks for sharing this! And way be hospitable to new friends. I’m moving to a new town in less than a month and pray I find new friends like you.

  52. my husband and i support a campus pastor (intervarsity) at a nearby university. we invited him and two of his small group leaders over for dinner and tennis. our children (8,7,3) loved interacting with them and they loved being off campus and having a home cooked meal. was the house at it’s best… no… but the company was wonderful. the best part ~ college students have very low expectations!

  53. I can relate to what you wrote, because I am always worried to have people over and so happy when I actually do and they do come over! :)

  54. I grew up in a home where we entertained frequently. My mother, when she was still living, used to say that I was the only one of us siblings who carried on the tradition. And I do! I love to entertain. And, interestingly, I’ve been thinking about blogging about this for a couple years now and just haven’t yet. It was at that point that I realized that I no longer demanded perfection of my self, house, food. I figured they were not important and if someone made it important then that was their deal. It’s really so easy to do and so many do not. And you know what? When I go into someone’s home and it’s not perfect…there’s clutter, dust, etc….I ADMIRE them for their authenticity amid their desire to entertain. It’s about the people, as you say, not about seeming perfect. Perfect? Bah, humbug! (I think I’ve got a start on that blog post. Thank you.)

  55. When I was growing up, we never were allowed to have anyone over because of the condition of our house. I vowed that I would never let some dust bunnies stop me from having an active and open home full of love! Of course, I have a tiny cottage so it’s easy to whip it into shape quickly, but I also think that some mess, dirt and clutter is the sign of a life where people are more important than tasks.

Speak Your Mind

*