Summers and holidays are busy times for entertaining out of town guests!
My friend Barb has guests coming and going all year long. My husband and I experienced true hospitality when we stayed with Barb and her family a few years ago in Wisconsin. I can tell you that we had the best food (yummy lamb!), conversation, night's sleep, and we can't wait to go back!
Her family went out of their way to make us feel warm and welcome.
I won't even tell you how cozy the bed was ... And Carlos was outside to greet us every morning. Along with Barb's sheep and lambs. (Read how my Balcony Girls were able to name Mini May!)
Here's Barb's story ...
In wanting to have a hospitable home when we married, it seemed natural that a truly open home would occasionally mean overnight guests. Over the years in our family, these guests have ranged from relatives and old friends to ministry associates to total strangers. Overnight guests can be a little more intimidating to host. Issues of food, cleanliness and time management all come into play in a larger way than when hosting for a singular meal. Early on, I decided to consider what I would want if I were staying in my home:
--A clean place to lay my head at night. I do work to make sure a guest room/area and its nearby bathroom are well dusted and scrubbed for our guests. This doesn't mean fancy though--it means clean. I remember one well-traveled friend complaining about hotels that don't wash sheets between guests, and I realized how simple our needs and desires really are. The sheets aren't 400 count sateen? They don't even match? Oh well. They're clean.
What matters most are warm and inviting hosts!
--Food on the table at meal times. Again, a simple need. I would never expect escargot or prime rib. Recently, when hosting college choir students, the weekend got away from me and I decided to order pizza delivered to our home. At dinner, I apologetically told the students we were going low key, with national chain pizza, and they were thrilled. They loved it and said it was the best thing we could have served them! At breakfast the next morning, I intended to offer at least some homemade fare, but forgot with all the other things I had to accomplish.
Our adult kids shared a variety of cereals with the students, and they were fine with it. They expressed great appreciation to us in detail when they left.
It doesn't take much to fill a tummy, and it isn't hard to come up with palatable meals in our culture.
--Some space and social comfort. Not being a big social animal, I need a little alone time everyday. Tell me where the TV and books or magazines are (or board and electronic games for youthful guests), and feel free to go about your family business when necessary. Let me know when you need me, and I'll be up or available. Just give me a little maintenance information, and I'll take care of myself! When I am with you, please let me help if you're feeling pressed. And don't worry about maintaining conversation with me. If we run out of discussion topics, give me a task to do or go about your business and I'll go read or stitch.
This is your home and I would never want you feeling uncomfortable in it just because I'm here.