Preparing Your Heart and Home for Hospitality

“There is no hospitality like understanding.” – Vanna Bonta

My friend Kristi and I are pulling together an Art & Eats mini retreat for a few women this weekend. Ahhhh we’re excited.

Planning this event is giving me such a wonderful outlet to focus on hospitality and fostering real-life camaraderie in my own community.

As I begin to prepare for the retreat a myriad of questions are running through my head.

Questions you might have asked yourself before planning a gathering.

Should I buy a mum for the front door? Every good fall get together has a mum, right?

Should I spend a little time weeding the dying flower beds before everyone comes over?

Was there bird poo on the mailbox? What’s the party etiquette here? Clean it off before everyone arrives or let the rain take care of it?

Do I need another coat rack? Errrrr…

What if there’s not enough room? [Should I hire a contractor to add on a sun porch in the next 36 hours? Okay…I’m joking…but seriously will everyone fit well?]

You’ve wondered similar things?

Questions like these keep us distracted from true hospitality.

We get entangled by unimportant details before gatherings.

Wrapped up in things that consume our hearts.

By the time the parties roll around, unnecessary prep work has exhausted us, and we’re unable to give the best to our friends, to our guests.

We’re too tired to love well, serve well, enjoy camaraderie.

So I’m choosing to bake a bazillion muffins for the ladies over weeding the flower beds. Instead of worrying over the details as I sweep the front steps, I’m praying for everyone who’s attending the retreat. I’m shifting my focus from restlessness to graciousness.

So how do you prepare your heart and home for hospitality?

Choose to spend your time on things that will help you love people well.

Move away from the ‘entertaining’ mindset into hospitality: it’s not a show, it’s caring for, being interested in and fully present with the people who grace your home.

It’s about making space in your heart and home for others to feel welcomed, known, and enjoyed.

What do you tend to worry about before people come over? Tell me in the comments below.

4 comments… add one

  • Merritt September 25, 2014, 12:32 pm

    I definitely worry about having a clean house. And you’re right. I exhaust myself cleaning and cooking to the point that when people arrive I’m counting down the hours until I can fall into bed instead of focusing on how to love them and be present in the moment. Love your focus here and am praying for your retreat to be a blessing to all!!

    • Alysa September 25, 2014, 12:50 pm

      Cleaning! Yes! Me too! I’m leaving my window still dust bunnies out for all to see [because, frankly, finding a ladder and standing on it 15 feet in the air to clean them up freaks me right out].

      Thank you for your prayers, Merritt! They’re lifting my heart.

  • Lauri Newell September 26, 2014, 11:19 pm

    I’m right there with you on the cleaning and wondering if there’s enough space. I also find myself trying to complete projects that have nothing to do with the event at hand but I seem to feel like I need to tie up all loose ends before this thing can happen. I’d like to get better at closing the door and leaving a room how it is, but I feel like every detail needs to be just right. You’re right though, I need to just focus on loving the people in my space and be present with them! Love this!

    • Alysa September 29, 2014, 12:04 pm

      YES! That’s how I feel sometimes too, Lauri! My attention seems to drift to non-essential “projects” as I’m planning for a gathering. I’m slowly learning to set them aside (no it’s not easy) in order to focus on what’s more important.

      I just visited your blog. Love that quote about Mother Theresa on your ‘About’ page. That’s my favorite quote of hers too.

      Thanks for your kind words. Take care!

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