8/28/07

Entertaining Strangers & Book Give-A-Way!

My husband came home from work and said, “Honey, I asked the 700 Club producers over for dinner Tuesday night!”

My mind immediately went to my blog as I asked myself “How do you entertain strangers?” And I told myself, “Well, girl, it’s time to practice what you preach!”

Not only did the 700 Club producers come into our home for dinner, they were also here in our town for 3 days doing a back-story on Paul and his new book, No More Jellyfish, Chickens, or Wimps. The back-story included footage of Paul coaching soccer at the high school, and in his office (our 3rd car garage), and at the DOVE radio station as he was interviewed on his local talk show. It was all preparation for when Paul is back in Virginia Beach LIVE this Thursday, Aug. 30th, on the 700 Club. He’ll be promoting his new Protector’s curriculum, and a special story that came forth after his writing No More Jellyfish ...

The events were all exciting and fun, but I had to plan this Tuesday night dinner, and quick!

Instead of stressing over entertaining people that we’d never met before, I focused on 3 things: what to serve, what other guests to invite, and how to make the evening relaxing.

Then my plans fell into place. Delegate parts of the meal, invite friends who know how to have lively conversation, pull out my stand-by ironed-up white linen (thanks to my 10-year-old daughter, Abby, who irons for me), look at what flowers are blooming in the backyard and coordinate napkins that match, and pull out the stack of glass dishes that I use for large groups (a well-used garage sale find).

That evening, our local friends brought food, we created the atmosphere by playing upbeat music and setting a beautiful table, and at dusk we sat down and enjoyed a great evening.

We purposely invited couples who knew how to connect with people, who could make spirited conversation with a stranger. I also couldn’t help but think what impact we would make on our 700 Club guests and on Paul’s career as an author.

These strangers turned out to be friends! After spending a few days with them, by the time dinner rolled around they seemed like long-time friends. Not only did they take an interest in our lives and our children’s, but they had a deep concern for our missing dog, Haggis, who ran away from home the day before!

One producer wrote me and said, Thank you so much for your hospitality. It was such a wonderful treat to have dinner with you guys and experience your "home entertaining." I can learn so much from you!

Now we look forward to watching the LIVE 700 Club show on Thursday, when Paul will be back in Virginia Beach. The “back-story,” filmed here in southern Oregon, will be aired along with it, and our new producer friend, Stacey, who interviewed Paul in our back patio and in his office, will be a part of that story (top photo).

An all-too-important message will also be shared with the world, a message of hope for kids who suffer daily at the hand of bullies, and insights regarding what we, as bystanders, can do about it!

Check your local listing for the 700 Club and tune in this Thursday, August 30th! Also, if you’re interested, visit http://www.theprotectors.org/

(PS: Our boy Haggis was returned to us the next day!)

NOW TO WIN!
Comment back on this post and let me know if you are comfortable entertaining people you do not know?


You'll be eligible to win a copy of No more Jellyfish ...

The winner will be posted on Friday, 8/31.

42 comments:

ValleyGirl said...

No, I am definitely not comfortable entertaining strangers -- I have enough trouble relaxing and entertaining good friends!! I love that we could sort of see you in action and that you had the presence of mind to remember the thoughts that ran through your head in the midst of last-minute planning. You are absolutely incredible!

Oh, and we'd love to have Paul's new book. My husband is reading 'No More Christian Nice Guy' right now and thoroughly enjoying it. (He wanted me to pass that on.)

PS. Haggis is such a cutie! How, exactly, did he get named that though?!

MamaLady said...

Yes, I am comfortable entertaining strangers. My first dinner party was for 40 people. 30 of them I'd never met before. It was a rehearsal dinner for my husband's son. The bride's family really came out in full force. I only knew about 5 of her side of the family.
Over all it was a good evening.
I can't wait to read this book!

Nadine said...

I'm comfortable entertaining strangers. I've done it before when we had a big conference I hosted the speakers and their wives for a nice meal. It was so much fun.

I hope all goes well on Thursday.

HappyGoMommy! said...

I wouldn't mind hosting strangers at all....it just seems that the only people we ever seem to have over are the same, tried-and-true family & friends. I think we need to branch out!!

Jammy said...

I am most certainly not comfortable, but if there is enough of a group with a few good conversationalists then it will turn out great! hehe

Our church has an event called: Dinner for six
3 couples get paired up (sometimes there are a few singles thrown in, but mostly couples) and they get together at each others homes for dinner (3 of them, one each month)

This is a good way for "strangers" to become friends.

Jenster said...

I love your glass plates. You have convinced me (and it didn't take much) to pick up some dishes from the flea market so I can have a complete set of something when I have more than 8 people over.

Also, I like the idea of inviting "chatty" friends to help fill in any awkward silences. It's so simple and yet something I would never think of.

I would love that book for my husband. I think it would really resonate with him.

I'm off to check the listings because I definitely want to watch that 700 Club. I'll probably DVR it so Todd can watch it, too.

Thanks for sharing your life with us!!

Jenster said...

Oy! I forgot to add I don't mind having strangers over for dinner. Not strangers off the street - that I would be uncomfortable with. But we've had speakers visiting our church over and thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course, since they're speakers they generally don't have a problem keeping the conversation going.

Anonymous said...

One benefit to entertaining strangers is that there are so many different ways the conversation can go, there is sure to not be a dull or quiet moment! Talking about background, current life, family, and position, and on and on...when you don't know someone, the options are endless to questions that can be asked!

jenny friend

Kelli in the Mirror said...

I'm not really comfortable doing it, but I'm not against it. We just haven't branched out into that yet. There have been times when we have people over from my husband's job who are strangers to me- that's as close as we've come. And it does make me a little nervous, in a "everything must be perfect" kind of way.

Elizabeth said...

No, I wouldn't be comfortable...yet! But your words have inspired me so much since I started reading your blog. I'm pleased to report that I'm taking my first baby step and having brunch for some friends! I've decided to stop waiting for my new carpet, or to get the walls painted, or my room rearranged. I'm going to focus on the fellowship instead!

Thank you so much for your inspiration to us all. :)

sugarcreekfarm said...

I'm not comfortable entertaining strangers, but... you have inspired me. We have a magazine editor, photographer and food stylist coming to our farm for 3 days next month to do a story. So I am trying to plan some easy on-the-go breakfast/lunch/snack stuff, plus 1 or 2 sit-down dinners when we're done for the day. Um, no pressure serving food to a food stylist or anything :) But it should be easy to come up with some conversation-starting questions with these individuals who have careers so different from my own.

Karen said...

Sandy, At this point, I'm not completely comfortable entertaining strangers, but you constantly inspire me! I've said it before, but this is an area in our life that I want us to get better at--we're really good at "talking" about having people over, but then not good about following through. I love that the dishes you used were a garage sale find--I need to put myself on a mission to go garage sale-ing and see what treasures I can find! Thank you so much for sharing with us!! Blessings, Karen

ellen b said...

How exciting for you and your husband and your friends. Blessings on the show and the message. I'm so happy Haggis came back to you....

linda t said...

I have an insatiable desire to get to know new people! I am so curious about how couples met, what they do, where they are from, what gives them great joy...
And I have the 'gift of gab'!
How exciting Sandy!!! SOOO excited to watch the show!!

Peach said...

I am in the process of learning how to better entertain at all, including strangers.

I know God is calling me to step out of my comfort zone, and that's why I make myself come back for your lessons over and over. I've been taking mental notes and I come back for a bloggy pep talk when I need it most : )

I would love to have the book for our family. Thanks for reminding me, Sandy ; )

Momma Roar said...

Oh Sandy - how exciting for your entire family! I'd love to win the book! You (and your blog) are always such a delight!!

Jen(n) said...

I like to make things special for people so entertaining strangers is a little harder for me because I don't know what little things to add that would just suprise and bless them, but with enough time I think I am up for the challange!
-I loved the napkins on your table-

see you there! said...

Entertaining strangers isn't a problem for me but I certainly admire the fact that you did it with a large group. 6 to 8 is a good group at our house.

I'd love to win a copy of the book. I have a Granddaughter who is just the age for your Balcony Girls. As you surely know from experience, bullying goes on with girls but sometimes in a more verbal way.

Darla

Vickie @ garlitzfamily@gmail.com said...

I have been a lurker for a while now and this really resonates with me. Somehow I feel more at ease entertaining strangers than I do my peers. Maybe the pressure is off and you can just be yourself or perhaps it is that I love talking to people and getting to know their 'story'.

I love your blog. I have learned so much. My sister is the ultimate in hospitality but I think she has met her match in you. It is so awesome to see how the Lord gifts those with a special measure of hospitality. It is also great to read your blog and know that I can be a great hostess as well. Your always encouraging and transparent!
Blessings,
Vickie

Jen said...

I guess I do better entertaining strangers than people I know. We move often with my husbands job, so virtually everyone is a "stranger" to us. Over the years I have entertained many of his co-workers in our home. I feel it is easier to have them over than my own family because there are less expectations. When you have invited someone that you don't know into your home, they are usually thrilled at the invitation just because you have opened your home to them. I can be a little more casual in my preparations. When it is friends and family I always feel that I have to outdo their last visit.

Christie said...

Well, I thought my mind was made up that I do not enjoy entertaining strangers - but as I read over the other comments, there were some really thought provoking points made. Such as the one above that reminds me how much work it is to entertain those I love - because I want to "surprise" them each time with something fun. On the other hand, I'm an introvert and my husband is a chef and extrovert - what to do? He can make friends with the mailman, the store clerk, the kid in the ice-cream store - you name it. I on the other hand, have a hand full of close relationships and I nurture regularly - all others fall to the "just passing through" category. Can't help but wonder though, if I am constantly missing out on the wonderful treat that expanding your social horizons can be, by being more open to strangers.

Sigh...what to do...

Dee Light said...

Entertaining people I don't know? Well I guess it would depend on the people. I would feel okay entertainign teens staying over for a mission trip, but I don't know about the producers of the 700 club!!! That would be a little intimidating!!!

I am really interested in this book!!! Our girl scouts have frequent discussions on how to stand up to bullies, and how to help there friends when they are being bullied.

One night I was talking to my dauhgter, encouraging her to stand up to a bully in her class, but she said I don't know if that's what Jesus would do. We want our kids to be loving and kind, but we don't want them to be door mats!!!

Gail said...

Let me start by saying how much I love to read your blog. I enjoy entertaining as well but find it hard to schedule with the way my husband and I work. I do enjoy having strangers over but usually stress to much about everything being perfect.

Debi said...

Well....how neat is that? hmmmm....I think at this point I might be able to comfortably have strangers over :)
yay!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I ran across your blog not too long ago and it has really made me start to think. I am still learning and taking in all that you have to say. My husband and I both don't love large crowds of people but would love to learn the art of entertaining. I love how you explained how you invited people to help you entertain strangers, I would have never thought of that. I have so much to learn when it comes to entertaining. Thanks you for your blog and thank you for striving to teach people like me. OH and no I do not feel comfortable entertaining strangers but would do it if need be.
Shorty

Org Junkie said...

Hi Sandy,
I think I'm more comfortable entertaining people I don't know. Less pressure and expectations somehow for me. Usually the first time I meet someone is the easiest simply because there are no limits to what you can ask them because you know nothing about them to start with. I enjoy learning their story.

By the way I love your new picture!!

Laura

Sue @ praise & coffee said...

How very cool!!!

That book sounds awesome. Truly needed in these days, thank him for writing it!

Blessings,
Sue

stillh2o said...

For many years we owned two weekly newspapers in our rual area. I never knew who might be coming to dinner -- the bikers camping in the city campground, the head of the American Indian Movement, etc. Sometimes I invited them. Sometimes my husband did. We also have participated in a Third World journalist program. All of these were/are chances to show Jesus, even if I am sort of a "Martha" at the time!

Stacey said...

Hi Sandy!
How exciting!

Yes, I am comfortable entertaining strangers - there is so much to talk about because you don't know them yet!!!

Sounds like a wonderful time had by all.

Will you come on over to my place and weigh in on a question I asked. I would value your opinion in this area.

Martha A. said...

No, I barely feel comfortable entertaining friends anymore. I had some bad experiences with critical people that scared the wits out of me!

Your blog is encouraging though! I like the idea of inviting other people over that talk well!

elaine@bloginmyeye said...

I'm not comfortable doing it, but I do when the need/call arises. My husband is a college professor, so sometimes we entertain his students, that he knows and I don't. It's always enjoyable, but not usually my idea at this point.

Andrea said...

HA! Comfortable entertaining strangers??? For someone who's as shy and self-conscious as I am...that's not likely to happen anytime soon. I really admire you for how you handled that situation and I can certainly learn so much from you.

Maybe one day...

And that book (what a creative title!) looks really interesting. I'm all for reading books on parenting...you can never get enough advice, other people's stories and adventures, etc. I'd be proud to own a copy!

Sharon said...

We don't often entertain strangers, but I don't mind it. In a few weeks we will be having some students from the nearby Christian college stay with us for a few days. Should be fun!

I hope I win the book!

Amy said...

oh...gosh no! I wish I was more comfortable entertaining, much less strangers. But I'm working on it:)

Joy said...

Umm, good question Sandy. I think as long as I have a few of my own comrades to help me out with it, I'd be fine. :)
p.s. Don't include me in the giveaway because I bought my own copy of the book and am presently reading it! Love it!
Joy

Room for Grace said...

I think I agree with the people who said that in some ways strangers are less pressure than friends, weird, huh? Now if I thought my husband's career might be affected by how the evening went - YIKES!
Thanks for another great post...
Dena

millermoments said...

OK, I love to entertain - and love to cook, so I'm dying to know what you served to the "strangers" who are now your friends! :) :) ????

Jean said...

I don't entertain friends and family as much as I'd like which when I do is stressful enough. Entertaining strangers would be probably way more than I could bare.
I love how you make it seem so easy and wonderful. I would love to have the book.

La Tea Dah said...

What a lovely table and an encouraging post (to entertain strangers). Great job!

I'd love to be entered in your drawing.

:) LaTeaDah

Belle-ah said...

Congratulations! God is Good!!!

As to entertaining...yes, I love to as I have found that entertaining generally turns strangers to friends.

(((hugs)))

Cathy said...

I don't have a problem entertaining strangers. Hubby has done the same to me in the past.

I missed the show. I watch the 700 club from time to time.

Apron Thrift Girl said...

I think I would initially panic because the of the state of the house, covered in piles of books. But I think I would be comfortable with strangers. I enjoy meeting new people even if I am on the quieter side.