Commandment #8: Be Yourself. Don't Compare. Create Style.

Be yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others, but create your own style.

We don’t want to fall into the pit of living by comparison. If we find ourselves doing this, then something is wrong. If your mind is telling you that you can’t have so-and-so over for dinner because there is no way you can even come close to their way of entertaining, then STOP. You don’t have to do the same thing for them as they did for you.

Remember the beauty of hospitality? It gives without expecting something in return. It puts people before things. It allows our humanness to shine through! It is not only a gift we have, but also a gift we give. Hospitality is real entertaining for real people!

My husband and I recently took a “gifts” test that pinpointed our gifts and talents. Everyone has their own gifts and talents, and creates their own style! And this will affect how we entertain. For example, if you’re musical, you’ll love having music on with friends or without. If you’re creative, creating beautiful place settings and interesting meals will come naturally. If you’re administrative you may be great at organizing the evening, but no so good at the detailed “foo-foo” stuff. Paper plates may work just fine for you. Or a person might be a great conversationalist but a lousy cook. The ambience may be perfect but your timing may be way off.

I asked my husband, Paul, what made him interested in entertaining. He said he didn't want to entertain at first. He only did it because I liked it. Then he grew to like it, though he still doesn't like the people part as much as I do. The tasks of entertaining still come more easily to him than the socializing, as he enjoys the cooking, gardening, composting parts more.

But he has also enjoyed the “conversational” part more than he ever thought he would. (Do I have the sweetest husband in the world or what ?!?)

(BROCCOLI from the COUGHLIN garden)

I think of my friend, Hoppi, who has a flare for cooking and sharing. Her creative abilities shine through as she brings the "Coughlin home" a home-cooked meal every Thursday night.

These are her gifts, cooking and giving.
And we happen to be the blessed recipients of this gift!

My Dad has made his German “New Year’s Cookies” (short for German donuts) every New Years morning, without fail, for as long as I can remember. The house is filled with delicious food, more New Year’s Cookies than you could imagine, and people mingling and enjoying one another.

My Auntie Ellen has taught me so much about design and using what you have.

She has helped me on numerous occasions (big parties), with table-settings and teaching me about last minute details. She has the gift of “bringing-it-all-together.”

My cousin Reggie and his wife Anni like to cook together. They come up with the most mouth-watering meals and great dinner music too! Same with friends Roger and Faye and Ted and Pam -- these three couples could run their own restaurants!

See? Everyone has his or her own flare and style. We all love to eat and share, so think of your friends who could benefit from your own style of entertaining!
What is your style of entertaining?


Barb said...

Teenage Sandy looks like she married a handsome older man--look how young you are! Mr Paul looks like a happy man with something up his sleeve.....
We unexpectedly received china for a wedding present 100 years ago, and inherited the family silver, so we like to use those when company comes, however the food turns out. I think it overwhelms people a little sometimes--ever had pizza on fine china?!--but we try to be real personality-wise, plus I haven't been great with the centerpieces over the years, or super-creative in my cooking, so they know I haven't achieved nirvana in hostessland yet!

Rachelle said...

Great advice and tips here! But what if your own style of entertaining just feels like "no style at all"??? You're right, it's not about comparing. But in my neighborhood, I find that difficult. I am not spiritually advanced enough, I guess. I'll have to keep working on it...

linda t said...

One of the things I LOVE about your blog is that it gets me to thinking! And what I just realized cuz of reading this post, is that because I am so relational and not about the food, that is probably why we mostly grill when we have guests over for dinner. That way I can do all the prep early and Randy does the grilling, so I am able to relax with our guests and the guys can hang with Randy while he grills. It works for us! btw, Randy does not cook, he only grills. A fun way to share in the entertaining so I don't feel like I am doing it all. Thanks Sandy!

momrn2 said...

I just wanted to thank you for your presence in "My Quiet Corner". I have so enjoyed hearing from you!

I also wanted to let you know I have been stopping by here as well. I spent quite some time the other day glancing through your archives. I am thoroughly enjoying your place here and finding myself inspired to "entertain". :-)

I have added you to my bloglines and will for sure be back! Keep giving us such great tips, encouragement, and support in our entertaining efforts!! I know I for one appreciate it!

Sandy said...

Oops, sorry, Barb. I was playing around with the pix and ended up taking that silly one off. Wo! 100 yr. old china? I think we got to eat a meal on these dishes when we visited you last Fall! And we had more than pizza. Lamb lasagna!!

Hey, Rachelle. Great question! I think your style begins with what kind of taste you have. You can buy white dishes and create any kind of style around those. I'm not sure if you are referring to a *wealthy* neighborhood. Email me and I can give you tips on that.

Linda, I want to have dinner at your house, so I can visit with you and Paul can hang out by the BBQ with Randy :)

teresa sheeley said...

Very nice post! Wow, I had to think for a minute, I guess I really don't entertain much, but when I do it's very down-home, old fashioned cooking, informal, and always with some yummy dessert. I host our family Sunday dinner almost every week. Whether its friends or family, it's always the same, nothing too fancy, just relaxing.

Thanks for your kind comments you left for me on my blog too. Very sweet! Have a wonderful weekend!


Bettsi said...

Well, you definitely have me thinking, Sandy! I think I'm almost ready to give up some of my perfectionism, but I refuse to have anyone over until the main bath is finished! We are shooting for this weekend(IhopeIhopeIhope!). I like what Linda said about grilling and prep work. It made me think about my crockpot of which I am the undisputed master! If I made a crockpot meal and had a frozen dessert to serve, I would probably have a fighting chance of enjoying hospitality! I think God placed you in my life at exactly the right time, Sandy. Thank you.

Leigh Ann said...

Our entertaining has certainly changed over the years but we do share in it. I love to make things pretty and settle the guests in. Hubby is the cook and I am the prep He does good, homemade, simple cooking - chilis, pizza, pastas, grilling in the summer, antipastos. He also does the wine and the music is usually whatever we are in the mood for.

I think we like the trappings of formal things like invites, pretty china, glassware but like the parties to be casual. Does that make sense?

So how did the dolls come out? Fun thing for a snow day!

Cheers! LA

Leigh Ann said...

I find more and more people want to contribute to the meal somehow so we usually tell them to bring dessert. I'll always have chocolate on hand to melt for fondue just in case. Everyone loves that!

An Ordinary Mom said...

What a great commandment for all of our dealings in life, not just with entertaining! Thanks!

Shabby in the City said...

I love to entertain any kind of way! From grilling with couples to having sweet older ladies for breakfast! If your home is open then people know your heart is too. I wouldn't turn a soul away from coming in and sharing a meal with us.

Christine said...

We don't entertain much, simply because of our schedule, but I love having friends over for lunch. I used to host a prayer breakfast and really enjoyed that. I appreciate what you said about being yourself; I have found that my friends who entertain all have their own way of doing things and each is a blessing in her own way.