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.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

The Habit of Hospitality

I have written about hospitality many times here on the blog (I even wrote a 31-day series about hospitality in my early blogging days.), because it is something that I feel strongly about.  

But as enthusiastic as I am about hospitality, it is far too easy to fall out of the habit, which is what we have done lately. So Ron and I have become more intentional about it for the month of July, and we are hosting a different group of people each Sunday this month. 

🌻 On the first Sunday of July, we invited Ryan and Sarah and the children over for homemade peach ice cream. We are taking every opportunity to spend time with them before they move later this summer. 

🌻  On the second Sunday, Bekah invited a group of young adults over after church. I made lunch (Ron grilled the chicken), and we all enjoyed our time of fellowship and conversation around the table. Then the young adults played games while the older adults (Ron and I 😉) propped our feet up in the sunroom

🌻  On Sunday #3, we invited a sweet couple from our church. We have talked to these friends many times at church, but there is something special about sitting down together in a home. We learned where they have worked and lived, the names of their grandchildren, and that they met in French class. ♥

🌻 This Sunday afternoon, Ron's siblings and their spouses are coming over for homemade ice cream. 

🌻On the last Sunday of the month, we'll be having our annual Summer Birthday Celebration in which we will celebrate TEN summer birthday people! 

We will not be keeping up this hospitality pace after this month! August is already crazy without adding extra things. But this was a way to jump
 start our hospitality habit! Although we already host many family gatherings, our goal is to reach out and invite others into our home. We are at a stage in life where it is possible to do this if we are intentional about it. 

Here are a few pointers for encouraging the habit of hospitality.

ONE: Invite! 

Yes, actually invite someone. 

It does no good to say, "We should have people over more" or "we need to invite so-and-so" unless we actually DO it. 

So choose a date and invite. Sometimes it takes a few tries to find a date that works for everyone, so you may as well get started. Even if you have to plan a few weeks out (or even further), at least you have a date on the calendar and you can look forward it. 

I always remember my friend Deanna's hospitality motto: People like to be invited. So simple, but so profound. 

TWO: Keep it simple.

Sometimes, my lofty goals get in my own way. If I can only host when I have the perfect menu or my house is white-glove clean, then I probably won't do it. I have to remember my own hospitality motto: Not to impress, but to bless. 

It helps to keep it simple. I often rely
 on a tried-and-true menu. My summer menu is typically grilled chicken, a variety of summer salads, and a cool dessert. That is what I served the young adults. I repeated the menu the following week with a few tweaks because of dietary needs. 

Plan a simple, cheerful centerpiece. For summer, my go-to is a vase or pitcher of flowers cut from our yard. Ron planted a wild flower mix in one of the raised beds, and some zinnias grew back from last year's seeds. We also have several hydrangeas. So there is usually something that we can use for a simple arrangement. For winter, my go-to is a candle in a glass hurricane, although I will also use mums or poinsettias (those are always faux because we have a cat) or tulips. 

THREE: Plan ahead. 

Although I am a procrastinator by nature, I must overcome those tendencies when I host. It is essential that I plan and work ahead, even if I am keeping it simple. 

We have already mentioned the need to plan ahead on the calendar and settle on a date to have people over. (Of course, it is also wonderful to be spontaneous and invite someone on the spot! But I rarely do that, so I will host more frequently if I get a date on the calendar and intentionally set aside that time.) 

It also helps me to make a list of tasks and do as many as possible ahead of the event. Put the ice cream base together the day before so it can chill in the fridge overnight before freezing. Make the salads ahead. Put them in the bowls you will serve them in. (Or at least choose your serving bowls/platters ahead so that you will not be scrambling as you're getting dinner on the table.) Set the table the night before. 

Recent note to self: Cut and arrange the flowers the day before. If you try to do it on Sunday morning, you will be late to Sunday School because it takes longer than you think. 

In my next post, I am going to tell you about a wonderful hostess! 


  1. It is so nice to be abel to invite friends and acquaintances over to one's home. Sometimes it might be just for a cup of coffee and a chat, sometimes a meal. You are very good at your planning ahead!

    1. You're so right, Barbara! Hospitality can take many forms. It's all about connection and reaching out to others.

      Planning ahead is a challenge for me, but sometimes it's the only way so I rise to the occasion! :)

  2. "People like to be invited." Greg and I were just discussing inviting a new family to our church that just moved here from Montana. Good ideas, Cheryl, especially to invite not just talk about inviting...Love your table and that ice cream looks so good. I was thinking you have a lot of July birthdays to celebrate! Have fun!

    1. That idea has always resonated with me, ever since I first heard (read) Deanna say it. It's so true, isn't it? Thanks for your kind words, Ellen!

      Two July birthdays, seven August birthdays, and one on September 1st. Busy, busy . . . but such happy occasions!

  3. That ice cream looks absolutely delicious! Yes, you're right, planning is vital. I like your plan to keep it simple. It makes everything so much more 'doable'. Anyway, I still read your blog even after 6 years of not blogging-
    Carol, formerly of Our Sears Kit Home.

    1. Dear Carol, I am humbled that you still read Thinking About Home! ♥

      I need to remind myself of these ideas from time to time, which is why I am writing about "habits" today. Thanks for visiting and for your kind words!

  4. It IS easy to get out of the habit of hospitality, and takes some effort to renew it. You've done so well, and have such great tips. The ice cream looks soooo good.

    1. Thank you, Lorrie! I suppose anything that is worthwhile takes effort. We plan to renew our efforts after our crazy August. Ice cream (homemade or other) is a summertime treat!

  5. I'm a much simpler hostess than you, Cheryl - no cute paper ice cream cups, or centerpieces, but even something like a take-out/bring home meal (we had with friends on Wednesday night here), or some friends invited us to their place a week ago for a movie and popcorn, or snack & game nights we've enjoyed with friends... all are great ways of practicing hospitality. Finding our niches and doing what is natural for us can make hospitality enjoyable for all. Your tip of planning is probably my biggest hurdle. I think I'm planning and preparing ahead, but almost always on the day of, I'm scolding myself for not getting something or other done until the last minute! It seems there's always something I've underestimated how much time it takes to prepare or do.

    1. Absolutely! Hospitality is about connection and reaching out to others. I love all of those ideas!

      Oh my goodness. Planning ahead is my biggest hurdle . . . or maybe it's just working ahead and following my plan. That's why it's one of my tips. I know that's where I can miss the boat! :)

  6. It is always a good post when you chat about hospitality. I smiled to think of you and Ron sitting in the sunroom with your feet up. Hospitality can be exhausting, but one must look at the bigger picture.

    1. Awww . . . thanks so much, Vee! Yep, there we were. :) And I agree with both points in your last sentence.

  7. Cheryl, I always enjoy reading about hospitality from you. Your ideas are sound and doable. Homemade ice cream would definitely be a favorite during this oppressive heat. Hospitality is a habit and one that I need to put more focus on instead of just with family, though important as well.

    1. Thank you, Martha Ellen! Absolutely, family hospitality is important. (Three of our five Sundays were/are some sort of family gathering.) But we just feel that we need to stretch and reach out a bit more. There is great reward in that!

      Oh, this heat. You're right . . . the ice cream is summer favorite!

  8. You're an excellent hostess! I think I started following you because of that 31 Days of Hospitality blog series!


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