Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hospitalty Can Revive the Home

Summer Porch by Kevin Liang, from Lovely Whatevers

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Galations 6: 9 -10

This can be a hard thing for a home maker to see. She notices daily that her work becomes undone as quickly as it is done. This is one reason that I like to sew or craft or have people over to show hospitality. These things are pleasant rewards for the daily cycle of life. Dishes and meals have to be done over and over, but something you sew or craft, stays around for awhile. One of the things I am teaching the young girls to do in sewing classes is to make their own table cloth and napkins. The project is actually quite small and is completed quickly, and the results are lasting. Sewing and crafts stay a lot longer than meals, and so they are a lasting reward.

Hospitality is another thing that will encourage the homemaker to keep doing well. Her home efforts pay off when she can share her work with her friends. I like to get the house all cleaned up and prepare the table for tea and sandwiches and invite someone over. They always like coming, even though my house is not new and updated. They just enjoy getting out and going to see someone. Hospitality is something I am afraid the younger women will neglect. It should be included in their lives regularly. It is something that the Lord took the trouble to mention specifically in the Bible. Yet today there is a great neglect of hospitality. I am sure many women have noticed it, too.

In spite of nice homes and prosperity, there seems to be more lonely hearts than ever. I believe that it is a result of the neglect of hospitality. Just inviting one person over for a cup of tea can lift them up and do wonders in their lives for days. I know that is how I feel when I have returned home from visiting a friend. It always inspires me to do well and not get discouraged. After a friend has invited me over, I look forward to inviting her back to my place. So, if you are a young person and you get invited out, be sure to plan a time to return the favor. It is good practice. Too many times people are the recipient of good hospitality but they never extend it in return, or pass it on to anyone else.

Hospitality revives the giver the most. It makes the homemaker come alive as she bustles about and brisks her home up. She gets excited thinking about having someone over. Children sense that something special is in the air. They are greatly blessed by seeing their mother show hospitality. I really hope the young homemakers take this to heart because it puts life into the home and provides a personal ministry that is most refreshing. It gives you a chance to use your home for the Lord. It is good to share our personal surroundings with others, and I have always been blessed by it. I have had only a few rude guests, and for the most part, hospitality has been a pleasant experience.

It is easy to grow faint and weary at the prospect of doing mounds of dishes and laundry every day, and preparing for hospitality adds a bit of glamor and brightness


Lily said...

This is so very true. I always enjoy getting ready for a party or even for a tea guest because the extra shine on the house makes me happy for days on end. I also usually bake special treats which make the house smell wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a gentle reminder. It's time for me to have some of my son's friends over, and I think I'll invite the mothers to stay and visit--we have not done this for a while and it's time.

Mom of Five said...

I agree. I was feeling a little mundane with all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry this week; but then my husband had a friend over to help work on his boat. All of the sudden, there was a reason to bake a homemade pie, as he brought his wife and children along with him. Sometimes it's nice to have a friend over, even if it's just for pie and coffee.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. You're so right about that lift we get from preparing for company. It really can be a blessing, & changes the way we look at things!


Anonymous said...

Yes, having people over is a positive thing. I know it always encourages me to give the house a little extra polishing and tidying, which we then enjoy afterwards.

~ Ann

JKaye said...

This is an area that has been difficult for me, because I have some relatives who are a bit snobbish, and have behaved as if my home is not up to their standards. It made me feel insecure about showing hospitality. Recently it occurred to me I could just be myself, and offer up what I have, and not worry about what I don't have that someone else thinks I should have!

So, I invited a nephew and his wife and little daughter to come over this weekend, so the little girl can help me dig some new potatoes. I think she would enjoy seeing the potatoes come out of the ground. The snobbish relatives do not have potatoes growing in their back yards, of course, but I do!

Lydia said...

Judi, I agree with you. I've been been laughed at quite a bit by snobs, for making things instead of buying them. But, one day, these people will be seeking out this knowledge, as times get harder for them. I remember when hand made cards were looked down on, as well as hand made wrapping paper. Now, because of industrious women, these things have a high value. It is actually quite high classed to have your own fresh potatoes.

Abounding Treasures said...

You've gently nudged me to realize that I need to offer my home more for hospitality and to be laid back as Judi says, and *just be myself, and offer up what I have, and not worry about what I don't have*.

As you have mentioned, there are so many lonely and broken hearts about us, I pray that I might get my eyes off self and look unto the Lord for His guidance in my outreach activities :o)

Anonymous said...

I always looked forward to showing hospitality when I was an adult. My parents were great ones for it, and their dinners and other gatherings were legendary. They knew just how to make things pleasant and relaxed and their guests were always at ease and had a great time.

Unfortunately, every single time I've tried to have guests, it has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster. I can honestly say it has been because the people I've invited, who seemed to be pleasant and well mannered during my time of knowing them, absolutely had no idea how to receive hospitality and became absolute boors while guests in my home. Their behaviour ranged from bringing their own food from a fast food restaurant to a sit-down dinner to lifting every forkful of food to sniff it before eating it and inquiring "what IS this stuff" (I write "stuff" because I won't write the word the man actually said), to walking in, turning on the television and then announcing "You don't have cable! How are we ever going to get through this?" The worst situation was a party to which invitations were sent out and RSVPs given - and then not one single invited guest turned up! Phone calls revealed that they'd all "changed their minds" or were "too tired" to come to a party arranged for their pleasure!

I had not invited boorish and rude people to my home. From my experience with them, they seemed very pleasant, and I had counted some of them as good friends. It just seems that every time I end up with someone as a guest at my home, they act like rude ignoramuses and seem to think they can do anything or say anything they want.

This situation has followed me to another country, having emigrated from America to Australia in my forties. I thought possibly things would be better here, as I'd noticed that people seemed a bit more considerate and polite on the whole, but I've had similar guest disasters, ranging from people who outright ask why I bother to use a tablecloth and cloth napkins (this is everyday table dressing at my home) to those who arrive hours late or not at all, claiming that they were "tired" or had a "better" invitation that came up after they received mine!

In all honesty, I've given up, and I hate having done so. I doubt any of the ladies who read this blog are bad guests, but there are so many people out there who haven't a clue as to how to receive hospitality, and who ruin events regularly without so much as a glimmer as to how bad their behaviour might be.

Lydia, would you have any hints as to how to salvage such situations? My brother pulled the party that no-one showed up for out of the fire by rapidly calling a bunch of his college friends to come over - not my idea of the elegant evening that had been planned, but at least my husband and I didn't end up eating Chicken Kiev for two weeks. What boggles me is how to react to the very common rudenesses that so many invited guests engage in - being late, bringing their own food, criticizing the food and decor, insisting on watching television, etc. I know a number of other women who would love to entertain, but who have given up in the face of all this "casual" nonsense. We do socialize among ourselves, but attempts to branch out into more formal or ambitious entertaining have been disastrous.

Many thanks,


TO BECOME said...

I love having people over. It is not quiet as easy now that my husband and I are older but we try not to neclect this. We love it. Great post. connie from Texas

Lydia said...

TF welcome to the club...I've seen it all. The boorish behavior is selfish.

Jennifer C. Valerie said...

I have been thinking about being purposeful in inviting people over and your post just triggered me. I am going to look at our calendar and discuss the dates and whom with my husband. He has always been open to doing this since he is more of a people person than I am so here goes. I also wanted to tell you that besides me there are more lives that you are touching all the way over here in Dominica. This month my brother in law's wife is in charge of the Ladies Ministry and her assigned theme is Homemaking. I'm not sure(I haven't asked her yet) how she came across you but all the material she printed, read and shared with us this past Monday came from your ladies against feminism website. She said that she likes your stuff and really learned from it. Thanks for the blessing that you are.

Anonymous said...

I loved this post, Lydia. You've described the essence of hospitality beautifully and succinctly. I've had many interesting expereinces in my 20 years as a homemaker. The desire to be a generous host seems to run thick in my Irish blood and yet I am not wealthy and live in a world very much as TF describes. Just this past weekend I had the largest party I've ever hosted in my own home. It was a birthday party for my husband and I invited men only, all his old college and work friends. About eight men of the 40 invitees didn't respond to the invitation at all and never came. I made a feast (nothing catered or store-bought) and had two beautiful blue-and-white tents set up in my garden with flowers on the tables. I worked for weeks weeding and painting outside; planning the menu; shopping; having my children prepare funny toasts for my husband, all without his knowledge as it was a surprise. Though I was thoroughly exhauisted, I appeared happy and delighted to receive my guests on the day of the party. I believe this event lifted the souls of those that came and I think many of the guests were secretly amazed at my husband's good fortune. One man stopped me as he walked through our house to the bathroom and said, "This is such a great party! This is so great!" and several have called and e-mailed me to say the same thing since. Parties are not frivolous. At their best, they are a form of deep communion. They are spiritual events that call upon the very highest in ourselves. To be a gracious host is a taxing art form, but one of the most profoundly rewarding skills we can acquire.

Anonymous said...

TF, I can sort of relate. Not so much when we just invite one family or couple over, but when we have parties of the type that I actually send invitations in the mail, I am always, always amazed at how many people don't RSVP anymore, even though I clearly write my phone number AND my email address along side "RSVP."

An invitation is an invitation, not an obligation. But responding to an invitation IS an obligation.

~ Ann

dreamsbookstea said...

I love this posting. And I truly feel sorry for all the ladies who have had to put up with the shameful behaviors of their guests.

I read this post at just the right time, because yesterday a dear friend made the comment to me "You live in a house of make believe. Whenever I come here, I feel free to make believe everything is ok for just a little while."

I felt really touched by this sentiment and it got me thinking. I have noticed, that whenever any of my friends are feeling down or going through a rough patch, it's my doorstep they always end up on. And I am so glad to have them. I'm so thankful that they see me as someone they can turn to and that my home feels safe to them. Or maybe it's because I feed them? ;)

Anonymous said...

What a great post topic!

I need to work on this area in my life!☺

Unknown said...

I have been blessed when I have had others over for supper. It is a great incentive to clean and organize and I have fun making special desserts like tira misu and creme brulee. I especially like having our pastor and visiting missionaries over (my children, my husband and I are always fascinated by their stories).
We had an Independance Day barbecue (quite casual, of course)with barbecued chicken, ribs, homemade pies, etc. and one guest dissappeared into the kitchen for a very long time. When I went to check on him, I found that he had taken almost all of the rest of the food and left! I was furious then, now it's just funny.

Lydia said...

Yes I've had awful guests. Some would not go home at a reasonable time, leaving me exhausted and unable to clean up the mess.

Others didn't like the seating arrangement so they rearranged chairs and even moved the table closer to the window, further from the fireplace, or some other place.

Sometimes a guest has gone to the kitchen and got a different eating utinsel because they wanted a smaller or larger spoon.

Others have done things like kept the beverage pitcher to themselves, filling up their own glass over and over, til it was empty.

Others interrupt constantly to ask for the passing of the salt or butter. That gives more meaning to the Victorian custom of individual salt and butter dishes. I understand that better now.

I have seen guests come in tee shirts and dirty shorts and barefoot...well I guess some people like that, and maybe I could understand it if it was a lawn mowing party or a swimming party or a basket ball party...but they don't bother anymore to scrub up.

The guest that never got invited back was the one who began a heated argument about history, raising his voice so loud he frightened the children.

One woman I never invited back went to the refrigertor and got something else, and made herself a sandwich because she didn't like what was being served.

What is funny about the whole thing is that the ones that never got invited back, actually never realized it. They were also in the habit of not showing up and not letting you know. Hospitality meant nothing to them, and to this day, they do not realize they are not getting invited, and aren't even the least bit concerned about it, because they would rather not be invited.

A friend who came over today told me that we were a dying race of people and that the current culture doesn't understand hospitality and generosity in the same way as it was once practiced. She and her husband have waited on guests that never showed up and never bothered to call. She suggested we are probably too polite. She thought we ought to be more honest and say "You didn't show up when I invited you and you didn't tell me. I had the table set and hot food ready and it all went to waste. It cost me $50.00. You'll never be invited again." We really are the polite generation who never wants to hurt anyone's feelings, so we never say anything to them to help them correct their bad manners. Sometimes I wonder if we do wrong by letting them get away with it. It allows them to perpetuate this behavior and go on hurting other people.

dora said...

This isn't to do with hospitality, but we used to have a Bible study at our home.

One thing that got to me was one man that came that never removed his hat for about the first half hour he was there. I hated it.

To me it was rude, I just found it that way. I never said anything, but I didn't like it.

My last act of hospitality was a sudden one. This married couple that we had known for years told us they were coming around to see us.

He phoned my husband to say they were coming when we out shopping.

We hurried back home to prepare the food we had just bought and they arrived about two hours later, and left about 11.00pm.

This was a Saturday night. I normally get up at 5am on a Sunday.

I didn't get up until 7am so my day was off schedule.

And I resented the whole impositon.

But, there have been good times too! So all is not lost.

God bless

Anonymous said...

I think all the rudeness you describe is a direct and inevitable result of women leaving the home. The business of manners is the business of women. When they no longer see it as a central task in their lives, no amount of nagging by strangers is going to correct people's ways. It takes years for women to cultivate manners in their children and husbands. I think it's important to remember that many people are vaguely uncomfortable with their own rudeness. They sense they are doing something wrong, but aren't sure what. They are without a script at social events. They're social illiterates. I often do feel sorry for them and I guess this is what would keep me from actually telling them they are impolite. It's not in my nature to tell people they are rude though I agree with Lydia's friend that it may be the best thing for them.

Lydia said...

Mrs. Wood, you are probably right. People are gone from the home all day long and they are in institutions most of their lives, which require such casual behavior, and no correction, that this filters back into the home. When women left the home, it was left unguarded, and this is what we got: grown ups who are boorish and demanding, unable to appreciate the niceties of home. there are lots of ettiquette books available but the kind that needs them won't read them. Telling them out loud about their offenses can upset the homemaker--I wouldn't be able to sleep if I had to correct another adult at meal time, to his face. He would probably make me look bad by getting up and leaving, and embarrassing us all further, and it would spoil everyone's appetite. They are terrorists, in a way! If they dont get their own way, they make things even more difficult for the hostess. That could be one reason hospitality is not as prevalent as it once was. Another thing that prevents hospitality is snobbery. Having a choice of the best institutions to visit, from restaurants to theatres, my humble home is not "good enough" and it is too restrictive for some people, who prever to sack out on the couch with the remote, in front of a big screen. I'm glad there are still people who like to sit on the front porch and sip lemonade in the summer, and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate by the fireplace in the winter, with friends, in the old fashioned way.

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia,
May I come visit you? I don't have a tv to sack out in front of and would love to come sit on the front porch sipping lemonade or hot chocolate by the fireplace while visiting with an "older" Titus 2 woman. There are so few of those today!! And so many of us desparately need them. Thank you for all the wonderful posts! They are so encouraging when there is so much daily to discourage us from being at home filling our God-given role. Thank you!

Lydia said...

Yes, you are welcome, but you'll have to follow me around and keep up with me ;-) Today I am doing the gardening and it would be very nice to have someone talking to me. When the children were growing up sometimes I would have them read things to me when I had things to do that required a lot of time and sameness. I miss that.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, I hear you on the rude guests issue. I've come to just expect it, and laugh about it hilariously with my husband afterward. Recently we had guests whose child actually urinated in one of my guest beds and then defecated in another!

The parents then continued to let the child run wild through the house and didn't leave till well past 11 PM. The child, of course, was completely exhausted and tantruming, but the dad was absorbed in playing a video game and couldn't be bothered to notice.

I was completely stunned, and I really thought (having toddlers of my own) that I'd seen it all.

Still, callow company is better than no company at all. At least it gives you something amusing to talk about after the party is over, and it lets my own children know, in no uncertain terms, what we think about THAT sort of behavior.