9/24/07

Watch and Learn

Becoming a passionate and competent hostess is much easier than many women have been led to believe. We need to bring together the simple, yet essential, ingredients needed for real entertaining and hospitality. But how do we get there, if we’ve never been shown how?

Even though I learned a lot about hospitality from my Mom while growing up, I still find the need to watch and learn from others. I take notes in my head of little things I like that someone else did, maybe in the form of decorating, cooking, or even in the way they treat their guests.

I’ve taken those ideas, melding them into my own style and flair, creating my own art of entertaining.

Both my friends Jeannie and Faye, are fantastic at hosting dinners, along with their spouses.

What I’ve learned from Faye is to have everything ready when the guests arrive. Faye and Roger are amazing conversationalists and they start from the minute you walk in their front door, as they are both there to greet you. They are so interested in their guests’ lives that conversation is never a problem for them. They know how to create interest and spunk for the whole evening. Undivided attention is what comes to mind as both Roger and Faye take turns in the kitchen, thus never leaving their guests. Their teamwork throughout the evening is beautiful to witness and be a part of.

Jeannie and Minor, on the other hand, have a different style of entertaining. Their overall warmth and authenticity are awe-inspiring. Their deep concern for, and interest in, our whole family has been a testimony for true hospitality. Going deep into our lives, expecting nothing in return, and cheering our family on are what we experience with Minor and Jeannie, in their home and away from it.

Both couples always have very simple, but elegant table settings. They don’t seem to worry about impressing, but they cook delicious foods, and they cater well to kids, as active children do not bother them. I’ve learned to be more relaxed from Jeannie, and I’ve learned to care more about people from Faye!

Taking it a step further, both ladies are excellent mothers, passing down the gift of hospitality to their married children. Faye, now a retired teacher married to retired physician Roger, and Jeannie, married to physician Minor and retired as an RN and social worker, have both mastered the art of entertaining. But they’ve also learned what it means to invest in the lives of others. They have both spent their lives giving away what could be theirs. Learning to value the common life, and not getting caught up in complicated details or unnecessary possessions, I would say that their value of relationships is top on the list. Let me just say it: both ladies have been excellent role models for Paul and me.

Having older women in my life, whom I can continue to watch and learn from, has become an essential ingredient to my entertaining skills, as I continue to learn about this art of hospitality. My children are also now of age where they are starting to watch Paul and me, in how we interact with others and how we value those relationships.

Having healthy role models is a secret to success when it comes to entertaining, if you are willing to take the time to watch and learn!

13 comments:

Org Junkie said...

You know I never thought about it before but I think that is exactly what I'm missing in my life. Do you know I don't have one single mentor in my life when it comes to hospitality. It just would never have occurred to me to invite an older couple to dinner and I have no idea why....lol.
There you go again making me think!
Laura

linda t said...

Thank you Sandy... as I've thought about it, I really have taken strengths from each of my dear friends who entertain so well.
The other night we had dinner with a group of friends and the husband made the whole meal. He is very quiet and his wife very outgoing... they were the perfect team. I could sense how they were protecting each others weakness and releasing those strengths in each other. It was so moving to witness and to learn from.

Nadine said...

How true this is. Having older people in our lives who model what we want to improve in helps so very much. We can learn so much by watching others who entertain with ease. Everyone has their own style that works for them. It's so great to look at it and take from it aspects that would work well for ourselves.

I do enjoy reading your posts. Thank you Sandy.

Boy & Girl said...

This was so interesting. Thank you for sharing that. It really makes you reflect on our style of hospitality and those around us.

Love your blog!

ValleyGirl said...

I think I might be in the same spot as 'Junkie.' I just don't have a mentor in this area. Not an older, more experienced one, anyway. My cousin's wife is wonderful at hospitality, she and I are so incredibly different in the area of food and entertaining though, that it's hard for me to learn when I'm standing there in awe and shaking my head in disbelief at what she's pulled off this time! I feel like I need someone more my mentality and personality type to help me realize that I have the same tools and talents to get the job done. I don't know. Maybe that's just another excuse.

Kelli in the Mirror said...

Your posts always make me want to be better. :)
I gave you an award! Come see!

GiBee said...

How true!!!

My mother is my role model for entertaining! She's amazing!

Dee Light said...

Great Post!!! We can learn so much from others, and it is so important that we have mentors to help us along the way.

*Bri* said...

I stumbled upon your blog and just love it! Its informative and so different from everything out there. We currently don't live near family and friends and unless they come into town to visit I don't find myself thinking about entertaining. I had somewhat accepted that we just don't have many friends as a couple right now due to our location. Your blog is inspiring me to put myself out there and invite some people over. Thanks!

Elizabeth said...

And my "healthy role model" is you, Sandy! Thanks for all the inspiration!

Andrea said...

You never cease to amaze me with your posts. I always wonder what you're going to post about next. It's just really neat that you can keep a whole blog solely about entertaining and being a hostess.

Love it!

Barb said...

It's interesting how we think of mentors in terms of parenting or Christian growth, but not in areas like hospitality. My parents set somewhat of an example--hosting many people from other countries while my Dad was at the university, for one--but otherwise my hospitality mentors have been imaginary. I modeled my hospitality attitudes and practices after what I thought everyone else was doing--except I was wrong! Maybe everyone 100 years ago, but not today. Glad we made the effort tho, for our sake and for our kids'.

Overwhelmed! said...

I love entertaining, I really do, which is why I'm hosting a Soup Exchange at my house in November.

My biggest challenge with entertaining is that, no matter how hard I try, I never seem to have everything prepared by the time my guests arrive. I then have to rely on my husband to keep guests occupied while I finish getting food together.