A New Mrs. Oregon?

My friend, Jami, has a different approach to hospitality. Although she says she is hospitality-challenged, I would have to disagree. She says she didn’t acquire hospitable traits growing up, so everything she does now she has learned by watching others.

Being a very busy Mom of 11-year old quadruplets (Calgon, take me away!), and currently running for Mrs. Oregon on October 6th, she told me she opts for a couple of large gatherings a year. Large, as in sometimes 40 people!

Early on, her idea of entertaining was opening a can of soup. She learned through the years to be very spontaneous and says, “ordering pizza has played a huge role in my hospitality history.”

But that was years ago. Now when she entertains, she cooks, cleans, gets ready for her guests, and has the mindset that if she is preparing for 8, why not make it 40?I asked her about her favorite guest menu, and she said, “Italian.” And this is how she described it:

I make simple pasta of Spaghetti with garlic & oil (it has fresh basil, parsley, Romano cheese, Italian bread crumbs, crushed red pepper-and of course garlic cooked in olive oil). Usually I will cook a big crockpot of canned sauce that I doctor with fresh garlic and herbs and Costco meatballs, and serve over the spaghetti. I make caramelized carrots with marsala (cooking wine), if I have time.

For bread, I buy the Costco artisan bread, and upon request, Costco will give it to you frozen so you get the fresh baked smell and flavor. Then, I have other guests bring their favorite recipes like pork scaloppini, pellegrino, chicken marsala, salads and tiramisu (made by Suzie, our friend’s Italian wife).

We’ve even had this meal as an early “Italian Thanksgiving with Friends” and it is always a wonderful time with old friends and always some new ones, too.

And then I asked Jami how she ties in being “hospitable” with running for Mrs. Oregon?

I’d say it’s going outside your comfort zone, facing fears and actually doing things you don’t think you can do. I’m not particularly comfortable doing either, but I long to grow and to be changed. I also like to do things that will force me to trust God more and rely on Him to make things how they should be, to give up control and to remember that life is about people, how to love them sincerely, and forget about trying to impress!
I was not prepared like usual for the last party that I held. I had to just give up all my usual preparation rituals (like a vigorous house cleaning) and focus on the fact that the night was about the people who were coming for dinner, and the fact that they were not coming to do a house inspection, but to fellowship. I did the basics and had to ignore the dust I knew was certainly there.

It was kind of liberating.

Each time I step out and bravely make a move toward hospitality, I learn something new and enjoy it even more. There’s such joy in giving to others in this way, even if you’re a reluctant (or terrified) entertainer.

I love it that I have connected with Jami. Not only am I blessed by her friendship, but her Italian menu makes my mouth-water as I can just taste the garlic! I also think her “Costco Bread” idea is brilliant! (Did you know that little secret about Costco?)
I love her priorities of focusing on people and giving up the idea that we need to impress!

Opening up a can of soup or ordering a pizza, I think Jami has hospitality figured out!

(Good Luck, Jami, at the Mrs. Oregon pageant. I know you will represent our beautiful Rogue Valley as a shining star! Above photo: Jami with her husband Steve and their 4 beautiful children)


ValleyGirl said...

Wow, I feel like I can hardly keep up with two kids two years apart, let alone 4 all the same age. Guess if she can have people over, I've got not excuse!! Pass along my best wishes for her upcoming pageant. She sounds like a wonderful woman.

linda t said...

Wow, what an inspiring, freeing story.
It really is so about the people and not what we think we need to do to "impress" them. I know for a fact that I have ministered to our guests by the sheer fact that my house was rather messy and that everything was far from perfect! God can truly use us just as we are... not how we wish we could someday be.

momrn2 said...

I did not know that tidbit about Costco. I will have to keep that in mind. We also use their meatballs for our spaghetti! Yum!!

This is a great reminder and renewed inspiration to reach out. I so enjoy the reminder that having people is not about a "house inspection, but about fellowship".

We still have occassion where the invite is spur of the moment resulting in a pizza or quick barbecue.

I have learned that not only is it not about the house and it's cleaning or lack thereof... it is also not about how fancy the food is!

Great fellowship can be had spur of the moment around a pizza and tossed salad. If one let's the food they are serving intimidate or discourage them... they may never have anyone at all.

I know if that were the case for me, people would be in my home a lot less often. Somedays allow for great prep... and some don't.

I keep reminding myself the key is people, people, people.

Thanks for the continued encouragement!

And best of luck to your friend!!!

GiBee said...

Can I just say ... I HEART Jami and connect with her on so many levels! I love to entertain, but I love to have large parties even more... Not sure why, but I feel like I can entertain EVERYONE, instead of 2 here, 4 there, etc.

Good luck, Jami!

Heidijayhawk said...

QUADS?! i will now stop complaining about entertaining with my three singles! good luck lady! thank for introducing us to her!

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Hi, Sandy, your friend's menu sounds great! I love Italian food & it is pretty easy to make a big pot of spaghetti sauce for many people. I hope to get into more entertaining again too. It's so much fun.

Hey, I'd love to be able to pop over to your house & help you redo those light fixtures...if only we weren't on the opposite sides of the country, LOL.


Barb said...

Wow, I wonder if I'd had quadruplets if I'd be as cute as she is! :oD

Martha A. said...

That is some good ideas!

Nadine said...

First off she is absolutely beautiful. Quads...wow is all I can say...wow. With quads she can entertain up to 40 people...well no one has an excuse. I love the Costco bread idea(I didn't know you could that). Costco bread is very good. Thanks for sharing this wonderful posts and such wonderful ideas.

Yellow Mama said...

What a great reminder! My teens have helped me get over the perfectionist entertaining mode. Great post!