This year, do you hope to spend more time with family and friends, nurturing those relationships that mean the most to you? Christian Mommy wants to help with this two-part series on how to entertain in your home without the stress. In part 1, we discovered that opening your home to guests is really all about opening your heart. Today, author Georgia Varozza continues her talk on hospitality by sharing some good advice on how she prepares for company and what you can do when guests arrive with little advance notice.
When I was given enough advance notice, I’d begin by cleaning what I could, in order of priority. The bathroom was always first on my list—surfaces got a quick wipe down, the toilet bowl was scrubbed, and the mirror cleaned. Then I’d turn my attention to the living room, picking up toys and anything else that didn’t belong there, vacuuming if necessary, and dusting. If the season was right, I’d often run outside to grab enough flowers from my garden to fashion a bouquet or two. (Because nothing says “I’m glad to see you!” like flowers!) Next came the kitchen. More than once I hastily stashed dirty dishes in the dishwasher or oven so they’d be out of sight. My objective was to neaten up the counters, wipe up any spills on the table and stove, and quickly scrub the sink.
I also wanted to be able to offer my guests something when they arrived—even if it was simply a tall glass of water—but if time allowed, I’d make coffee, tea, or lemonade and bake a batch of brownies. (I learned early on that having some brownie mixes on hand was a quick and easy way to offer my guests a treat in short order. And if the brownies were still baking when my guests arrived, so much the better! That was the aroma of welcome.)
If I had just a few minutes, I’d pick up what I could only in the areas that would be seen by my visitors, such as the bathroom, living room, and kitchen. My goal wasn’t to actually clean, but simply to put things away or hide what I could and then close the doors to any rooms that we wouldn’t be in. This was one area where I struggled the longest, and many times I’d greet my guests and then immediately launch into excuses as to why my house was a mess. But when I gave it further thought, I realized that the only thing my excuses did was to shine a spotlight on my mess, so I finally had the good sense to give that up.
And no matter how long or how short the visit, I always tried to send my guests home with a memento of the visit. It might be the rest of the baked treat we had just eaten, a jar of my home-canned salsa, or a book that I thought would catch their interest.
But let’s face it. There are still going to be those times when your heart quails at the thought of inviting someone into your home. Those are the times when some earnest praying for courage and grace can really make a difference.
Connect with Georgia at firstname.lastname@example.org