Warm Connections {Day 21}: Even in a Messy House

Warm connections are easier when we are comfortable in our our skin. And in our own homes. And we learn to invite others in.

The other day I was sharing over at Simple Mom’s blog and received some true, authentic comments from readers. (If you have a minute, read the comments.)

One struck a cord with me.

A friend of mine says her messy house is her “Gift” to her friends, as they will stop feeling self-conscious about their own houses when they come to hers. I had her over last week and announced when she walked in, “I have a gift for you!” :)

Isn’t a normal, well-lived-in house a gift that we can give our friends? It doesn’t mean we don’t pick up, or even clean, but many times hospitable situations are spur-of-the-moment. We can totally miss out on fellowship and being loved on–and loving back–by our friends or family.

After a soccer game, our friends opened their home to several families, totally unplanned. They got in there, as a couple, and pulled together a fantastic meal for 3 families. Their house was normal, just like yours and mine, and I can tell you that no one judged or even looked around. We were there for Vicky’s amazing food, and to visit with their loving family, and to talk soccer! (Ha!)

Learn that hospitality is a gift to GIVE.

It’s not about you. It has nothing to do with the state of your home. It’s all about love and being real. And it turns into a warm connection.

Do you feel that your house has to be perfectly tidied before you say “yes” to hospitality?

If you missed previous days to 31 Days of Warm Connections …
Day 1: Secret Ingredient to Warmer Connections
Day 2: Bringing the Beauty of Autumn to Your Table
Day 3: Multi-Generational Pear Applesauce
Day 4: Canning Suncrest Peaches with a Friend
Day 5: How to Find Contentment
Day 6: Encouragement with Easy Pear Cobbler
Day 7: Bush’s Garbanzos, Chicken, and Quinoa Soup for a Sports Family
Day 8: More About Others
Day 9: Technology Versus People
Day 10: The Table Experience with Bush’s Beans
Day 11: Dreaming of Autumn Guests
Day 12: Gathering Around a Homemade Life
Day 13: Sisters in New York City
Day 14: Giving to Those in Need
Day 15: Enjoying Everyday Sounds
Day 16: Life’s Small Moments
Day 17: Well-Designed Kitchen Counter
Day 18: “Now Time” and 5 Years at RE
Day 19: Taking a Chance and Chocolate Caramel Bars
Day 20: Harry and David, Nostalgia and Hospitality

And be sure to check out the rest of the 31 Day Participants!

21 comments on “Warm Connections {Day 21}: Even in a Messy House”

  1. Pingback: Reluctant Entertainer 2011 Round-Up - Reluctant Entertainer I Sandy Coughlin - Lifestyle, Entertaining, Food, Recipes, Hospitality and Gardening

  2. This is such a message to me, Sandy! I’m afraid that what I do would often fall into the “entertaining” category rather than into the “hospitality” category. I need to learn, as you say, that hospitality is a gift–and realize that no one cares about the mess on the countertops or the dust on the baseboards.

    Thank you so much for linking to the Best of 31 Days party! :)

  3. Pingback: 31 Days of Warm Connections - Reluctant Entertainer I Sandy Coughlin - Lifestyle, Entertaining, Food, Recipes, Hospitality and Gardening

  4. Hi Sandy,

    What great advice!

    When I was first married, I would become so stressed about having the house perfect before having people over that I put my husband through some unpleasant cleaning frenzies! LOL! Finally, I realized that folks were coming to see us and actually felt better if our home didn’t look perfect (much of this developed in me from reading your blog!) But the best gift was the joy I saw on my husband’s face when I learned to relax and open our home to folks whenever the spirit moved us. :-)

    Love,

    Mary

  5. I love this article because so true. Hospitality is a GIFT and its often what I tell my friends over and over again every time they visit. They always think I cleaned all day and prepared food all day, HA!, farthest from the truth as a mom with 3 kids! I try to make a fabulous meal and make a comfy setting so they are relaxed and peaceful. It doesn’t even have to be super gourmet, most times its the little simple meals and settings that really sparkle!
    Great post!

  6. Loved the post you did on Simple Mom. I found and subscribed to your blog because of it. Great stuff! It is nice to be reminded that entertaining is about being with and blessing people in your life.

  7. Sandy, what an important post! How many times do we miss an opportunity to invite friends into our homes bc we are worried it’s not perfect. GREAT post and GREAT reminder!

  8. I like this post…the other day our friends came over for an unexpected dinner, and my friend Paula said, “I like that your house is not all clean…that’s what friendship is all about.” At first it freaked me out and I quickly looked around, but then I realized that her comment was a compliment and I didn’t worry anymore. We had a wonderful dinner :)

  9. Got the post up that I was writing when I commented. Here it is if anyone wants more thoughts on the subject. :) http://www.whimsysmitten.com/2011/10/beyond-perfection.html

  10. I’m actually sitting here writing a blog post RIGHT NOW on this EXACT topic — I saw your tweet come up and clicked over… great minds think alike, I guess. ;)

    I recently had an opportunity to spend the night at a friend’s house during our move from Texas to Oregon. Her house wasn’t particularly tidy, but her company was delightful and she made a wonderful meal, and we laughed and enjoyed each other’s company all night. It was the best dinner party ever. What struck me was that she never apologized for the state of her home (she has several young children in a small condo) or stressed about the mess (something I know I would do profusely until you were tired of hearing it!) She accepted us the way we were (tired, sweaty, and travel-weary) and offered us a true gift by opening her home without reservation. It’s a gift of true friendship, I think, when you allow people to see the imperfect side of you (and your home!)

  11. I love this idea and am working on not putting such unattainable demands on my version of domestic perfection. I need to accept my house is never totally sparkling clean and never will be with 2 kids, 1 on the way, and a dog. I have these ridiculous standards for myself as a domestic goddess that unless I hire a maid and a nanny and a gardener and an admin, I will never attain!

    I have let some things go and am working every day to breathe in my not-so-messy house. Baby steps….
    Great post!

  12. So beautifully written. I needed to hear this today, Sandy. Thank you!

  13. I love this! Try as I might, I always have a very lived in house. It’s nice to have “permission” to not be ashamed :)

  14. I have loosened up a lot. I’m always entertaining on a whim it seems & I always hope my home feels comfortable & welcoming…not necessarily ‘tidy’.

    Love this post Sandy!

  15. I’d never have a chance to entertain if I did a special house-cleaning each time!

  16. I’m beginning to loosen up a bit and not worry so much about certain things. Thanks for the encouragement.

  17. I love that she felt her messy home was a gift to her friend. I have learned to not worry so much about things being just so, because they aren’t just so at my friend’s home either.

  18. I don’t feel like it has to be perfect, but I do like it picked up and yet if we have something impromptu happen, I’m okay with it…I think (C:

  19. I think I have said this here before but it is worth repeating. My 86 year old aunt has always said: ” If you are coming to see me come anytime, if you are coming to see my house make an appointment.” Words we have lived by. We all live in our homes, and though we want them to be presentable, that should never be the focus when we invite people over. Last week end we had our kids home, they live in Fresno. We had a informal lunch, soup, bread, and salad. We had 25 people dropping by from noon til 3, people sat in the house, on the deck, in the family room, anywhere they could. Was everything perfect? no, but the people that we shared the meal with, and the memories we made were priceless….
    Blessings to you and yours
    Curtis & Sherrie

  20. I totally feel better when I go to a friend’s house and it is well-loved, and well-lived in. I can’t say I always feel as good, though, when friends come to my home and it’s like that. :P Too much of the perfectionism is still in me. Love this post Sandy!!

  21. Your words about hospitality being a gift really spoke to me. I love to have friends and family over, do the whole “Martha” thing with little touches and details. And some of my family doesn’t understand that this is how I show them that I care for them. So my hospitality is a gift to them.

    Who cares is the kitchen floor isn’t perfectly clean? It’s going to be messy after the party anyways.

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