As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

{31 Days of Hospitality} Day 10 ~ How to Host When Your House is FAR From Perfect

Not to Impress, But to Bless

Yesterday I told you of my own challenges to hospitality.  This was the first one:

# 1: Having people over when the house was unfinished (as in, only a room or two was even in use). 

Thankfully, this is one that I don't have to consider any more, with the possible exception of a short term remodeling project.  But in the comments section a few posts back, Tammy reminded me that it was once a huge challenge as she wondered how I managed to open my home when we were in the throes of remodeling.  

(You may want to read the background ~here~, the story of the purchase of our fixer-upper house and how we have made it our home for the past 31 years.)

So how did we have the courage to open our home when it was (very, very) unfinished?  

First of all, because we love to have people over, we just did it!  That sounds trite, but it's true.  We wanted to connect with friends and family, and we didn't want to wait until everything was perfect.  We realized that we had a long road ahead of us to get things where we wanted them to be, so waiting for completion would have meant years of missed opportunities.  Most of our guests knew that we were "fixing up" and were quite understanding, even encouraging, admiring what we were trying to accomplish.  Often, they would want the grand tour!

I had to remember that people were not coming to see my house, they were coming to visit with us, to enjoy a meal and fellowship.  

Of course, there were practical things to consider.

If a project was at its height (think layers of plaster dust, holes in the wall, giant tarps covering window openings...yep), then we sure didn't plan a party!  (For goodness' sake, we could hardly get meals on the table for ourselves during those intense times!)  We'd wait for some lesser mess or for a time between projects to invite guests.  (And there were plenty of those in-between-projects times as we waited for finances to catch up to our grand plans.)

We had to consider the season.  We had no air conditioning and no one wanted to be in a hot, humid house in July, so most of our summer entertaining consisted of outdoor birthday parties.  We also did very little entertaining in the wintertime in those early years, as the farmhouse had old rattly windows and no insulation and could be cold and drafty.

We also had to consider the rooms that were available!  Just before we moved into the house, we made some simple, hasty improvements to the kitchen, and for several years, that was the only room that was available for company.  It is actually the largest room in the house, so it was okay.  No one seemed to mind that the door was closed to the next room.  It was kind of like a little efficiency apartment.  The next room that we renovated was the living room, which extended our party space by an entire room!  The last room we did was the dining room.  There is a whole story there...including planning a big fiftieth birthday party for my dad and planning on having this space and choosing to paint the room in a colonial mustard color which turned out to be not a colonial mustard color and going back to have the paint remixed and slapping paint on the trim right up to the day of the party...but I won't go there in this post.  The point is, we made do with what we had, and people were so gracious about their expectations.

Although our house was far from perfect, far from even being complete, I added little touches to make it a comfortable cheery place for our family, and a welcoming place for guests.  I made some red calico place mats and some blue checked napkins for our table.  I made pillows for our sleeper sofa that was our loveseat/bed in the kitchen.  Ron crafted some little wooden houses and a chicken napkin holder (remember, this was the 80's and "country" was in!), and I painted them.  We decorated and tidied our small area to make it a pleasant place to be...even if there was a disaster area on the other side of the door!

Looking back, I am so glad that we opened our imperfect home to others, and lived and loved and made precious memories.  We can't get those years back.

Tomorrow, I'll be talking about Challenge #2:  
keeping conversation flowing.  


  1. One of my nearest and dearests has the most gracious, open home. It is in a constant state of remodel as they added an upstairs at virtually the same time that they purchased a small home which was transported to their property and attached to the back of their existing home. They do all the work themselves (with a little help from friends). Each completed piece is just beautiful but the rest of the house isn't hidden and excuses aren't made. You feel so comfortable because THEY'RE comfortable!

    I LOVE that you loved my latest read!! Of course you did... :)

    Blessings, Debbie

  2. My house is NEVER perfect -- always repairs that need to be made, yard scraggly, messes to be hidden. But you are so right, those years cannot be gotten back, so we have people over anyway. My theory is that maybe they'll realize their house doesn't have to be perfect either before they have people over:)

  3. I say, of course, a huge Amen!

    We hosted parties and dinners and friends for dessert etc, when we had no trim on doors etc....we still have some rooms without baseboard trim...hopefully that will be finished this winter!

    People love to be invited and thought of, they really don't care whether you live in a picture perfect house or not!

    Love these posts!

  4. Oh...I want to be just like you when I grow up. Lovely post!

  5. Growing up, I always remember having people over, but I don't remember the mess at all except for the kitchen remodel/snake when I was a teenager. I guess the hospitality made a more lasting impression than the dust. (Somehow you need to incorporate your TWO snake stories into a post someday...maybe in November when this series is over.)

  6. We've never done the home renovation thing because I can't convince my hubby. This summer we moved to a new house and had boxes and things around for a few weeks. It was a good time for us to have company because it actually took some of the stress off. It forced me to not worry about things being just right. Loved it!


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