Be yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others, but create your own style.

We don’t want to fall into the pit of living by comparison. If we find ourselves doing this, then something is wrong. If your mind is telling you that you can’t have so-and-so over for dinner because there is no way you can even come close to their way of entertaining, then STOP. You don’t have to do the same thing for them as they did for you.

Remember the beauty of hospitality? It gives without expecting something in return. It puts people before things. It allows our humanness to shine through! It is not only a gift we have, but also a gift we give. Hospitality is real entertaining for real people!

My husband and I recently took a “gifts” test that pinpointed our gifts and talents. Everyone has their own gifts and talents, and creates their own style! And this will affect how we entertain. For example, if you’re musical, you’ll love having music on with friends or without. If you’re creative, creating beautiful place settings and interesting meals will come naturally. If you’re administrative you may be great at organizing the evening, but no so good at the detailed “foo-foo” stuff. Paper plates may work just fine for you. Or a person might be a great conversationalist but a lousy cook. The ambience may be perfect but your timing may be way off.

I asked my husband, Paul, what made him interested in entertaining. He said he didn’t want to entertain at first. He only did it because I liked it. Then he grew to like it, though he still doesn’t like the people part as much as I do. The tasks of entertaining still come more easily to him than the socializing, as he enjoys the cooking, gardening, composting parts more.

But he has also enjoyed the “conversational” part more than he ever thought he would. (Do I have the sweetest husband in the world or what ?!?)

(BROCCOLI from the COUGHLIN garden)

I think of my friend, Hoppi, who has a flare for cooking and sharing. Her creative abilities shine through as she brings the “Coughlin home” a home-cooked meal every Thursday night.

These are her gifts, cooking and giving.
And we happen to be the blessed recipients of this gift!

My Dad has made his German “New Year’s Cookies” (short for German donuts) every New Years morning, without fail, for as long as I can remember. The house is filled with delicious food, more New Year’s Cookies than you could imagine, and people mingling and enjoying one another.

My Auntie Ellen has taught me so much about design and using what you have.

She has helped me on numerous occasions (big parties), with table-settings and teaching me about last minute details. She has the gift of “bringing-it-all-together.”

My cousin Reggie and his wife Anni like to cook together. They come up with the most mouth-watering meals and great dinner music too! Same with friends Roger and Faye and Ted and Pam — these three couples could run their own restaurants!

See? Everyone has his or her own flare and style. We all love to eat and share, so think of your friends who could benefit from your own style of entertaining!

What is your style of entertaining?

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