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Reaching for bites of appetizers and encouragement

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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.

Our friends are encouragers. They just know what to say, how to ask the right questions, and how to show they care.

So when we’re invited to their house for dinner, we know that our little encouragement tanks will be filled up with creativity, inspiration, and kind words. That is a good feeling. It makes us better people, spouses, parents, friends.

How was our day? What’s new in our life? Have we thought about this or that? How can we encourage you?

It’s more than a meal. We always come together out by the fire over some tasty wine and an array of healthy appetizers before dinner.

Endive, Strawberry, Mint and Honey Bites: We had just picked strawberries and mint from our garden, so I whipped up a platter of baby endive with goat cheese, strawberries, and fresh mint, drizzled with honey.

Sitting around a fire, we talk about life, reach for more bites of healthy goodness, pass babies back and forth, share stories and listen, and then we reach for another bite …

We all want to be a positive influence in the lives of others. Sometimes this involves a kind word, an action, or maybe a conversation with new ideas thats get our creative juices moving, in whatever area we need the encouragement.

I love to encourage others to be hospitable, because hospitality is what makes the world go around. People all over the world practice hospitality and it has to do with connecting and feeling loved, feeling welcome and encouraged.

I’m glad we don’t have to look a certain way, live in a giant, beautiful house, or have a perfect family to be encouragers. I’m glad it’s as easy as coming together over a simple meal (even take-out), where so much of “doing life together” really happens.

When’s the last time you’ve opened your home and invited friends, family, neighbors, single friends, new friends, friends that want to connect with others, older and younger friends – all types of friends – in for a meal?

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Comments

  1. “…it has to do with connecting and feeling loved, feeling welcome and encouraged.”

    Sandy, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve always loved the heart of your blog.

  2. We had friends over for dessert just the other day. But the best part was the conversation and encouraging words our friends gave to my family.

    We try to have family and friends over every month or if possible we go out to eat for a simple meal.

  3. It’s been too long since we’ve had friends over, and I feel the lack. Thanks for this admonition to make hospitality happen. I agree that connecting this way is vital.

  4. Thanks for sharing this Sandy! I have been thinking recently how I make excuses not explicitly say encouraging things to people. I think that they already know that I think they’re being brave and wise. Or I think they’ll think it’s disingenuous, and that I just say that sort of Christianise to everyone. Or when they just say thank you quietly, and the conversation moves on that it didn’t really mean something to them. But then I remember that when people say encouraging things to me I really appreciate them, and I don’t think people are being over the top, and often I just say thanks quietly and don’t make a big deal of how someone noticed something nice about me. So I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to encourage people, and for me too that often means inviting them over and not letting the moment pass when I can say, “Hey you’re doing an awesome thing right now!”

  5. We like to have bonfires (when there’s not a burn ban on!) and invite people over. We roast hot dogs and marshmallows, and sit around the fire and laugh, talk, share. We’ve made some great memories, and deepened friendships during these times.

  6. Thanks for the encouragement to put ourselves out there & open our homes…my husband recently just got a new job which due to his new hours will allow for him to be around more & I feel more free to ask friends and family over. Previously he worked and slept odd hours so it wasn’t very feasible to have people over on a regular basis, but it is something I am excited to do & summer seems like the perfect time to kick it off!

  7. Here’s a great excuse to have others over which we’re doing tomorrow: bake a bunch of treats and ask others to help you eat them! My son and I just baked a cake and there’s no way my husband, son and I can eat that whole thing by ourselves. So I invited a friend/neighbor to bring her son over to help us out :)

  8. Honestly, since I got married I only invite friends for a meal if it’s my birthday or if there’s an occasion. The idea of inviting and having friends for a meal at home is great. I didn’t realize how lonely and boring my social life for the past 3 years. I suddenly want a reunion with my “long time no see” buddies. I am excited because we’ll have a lot of catching up to do.

    Thanks to you Sandy.

  9. Hospitality scares me & I’m pretty sure everyone else knows some secret I don’t, but I try to “practice” it regularly. Last week a woman came over who said it is the first time she’s been in someone’s home in our town. (& she’s lived here at least 5 years!) I get discouraged that people don’t reciprocate & invite us over. Did I not do a good job? Do they not want to be “that” kind of friends? But then I remember that they’re probably just as nervous about hosting as I am! :) It gets easier & it is worth it!

  10. Yesterday I let go of all the excuses – the laundry, the cleaning – and invited a couple of friends over for a happy hour. I hadn’t thought about it like this, but you are totally right in that they fill our “encouragement tanks”. Since we’ve had kids, we hardly go out, and I deeply miss this part of my life. I also like the comment about “practicing” hospitality.

  11. My husband and I love to cook and because we have little kids, we find it difficult to go out or go to other people’s homes. So we invite people over for dinner all the time. We find it to be a wonderful way to connect with people.

  12. I don’t mean to detract from a great message on the whole, but tacos sitting on an image that is sacred to myself and my church is in bad taste. It was a bit shocking to me, frankly. Please keep that in mind in the future. Thank you! Normally I love what I find at Simple Mom.

  13. You are so right about the importance of hospitality, Sandy! And I think being with friends also helps us to know that we are not alone, and that when you get down to it, everyone is facing the same issues and fears!

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