Inspiration: My Dining Room Isn’t Big Enough

Inspirational: My Dining Room Isn't Big Enough for Entertaining from ReluctantEntertainer.com

I’ve been thinking lately about how to get out of our heads the thoughts and worries of “needing everything to be perfect” before we open our homes, and how to replace those thoughts and feelings with love and contentment.

When will things be good enough? Does our cooking and home really have to be perfect before we’ll invite others in? Is our table large enough to seat our guests? The affluence of our Western culture has created an epidemic of coveting what everyone else has. Ouch. I’ve done that. I see people moving in to bigger homes that I would like to have, yet they still don’t share their homes with others.

Inspirational: My Dining Room Isn't Big Enough for Entertaining from ReluctantEntertainer.com

This is what I’ve learned, and quite honestly, I’ve had to learn it over and over again.

You can have everything in the world, and still not be happy.

I still think back to my first home with Paul, our square table that seated 4, and when I longed for a “real” dining room. A place where I could entertain just like my mom did. And then we moved. I thought it was the most perfect house for our family, and it was. But then our family grew. So we moved again. This time I had a separate dining room. It was perfect. But then, we started hosting bigger parties and we outgrew that table and the space.

Inspiration: My Dining Room Isn't Big Enough for Entertaining

Later we remodeled our kitchen and changed the space, which was fantastic. We still don’t have a huge dinner table, you know, the kind that seats 24 (in my dreamworld) :) It seats 6, 8 if we need to, or 10 for really small people. :)

But we’ve learned to get creative with the space and add tables, put the kids at separate tables, or even host a causal meal where we grab plates and sit anywhere we can find room.

Inspirational: My Dining Room Isn't Big Enough for Entertaining from ReluctantEntertainer.com

Our home is full of love. We enjoy our friends when they come to dine with us.

I’ve given up on the “large table” dream and have put that energy into other things that really matter. Like being prepared for my guests, making sure I have a healthy, planned-out meal, and looking forward to good conversation and the honor of getting to know our guests more. It is an honor for us to know them more. Entertaining is not about us, our family, our plans in life–although most people do converse back and forth–but is about encouraging and connecting with the people seated in our chairs and on our carpets.

A simple person is a satisfied person.

They don’t crave more and more, but they enjoy what they have.

And just like I prayed, when we lived in our first house with that square table, it was about trusting that in due time, that more will come my way.

For today I have everything I need, and I am grateful.

Have you found yourself being discontented with the size of your dining room or table?

I’m honored to be featured over at Rachel Cook’s blog today, on her {a day in the life} series! Head over and say hi, and check out her delicious recipes and blog! :)

12 comments on “Inspiration: My Dining Room Isn’t Big Enough”

  1. our friends made us sit at the island, where they all gathered with their family at the dining room table, I felt hurt, isolated, I think we could have found a corner to squeeze into?

  2. i had the same problem. we had a square table that could sit 4, but tightly fit 8. i realized that when friends hang out its either in the kitchen or dining area. so we flipped our living room and kitchen nook. our nook is now a small sitting area with a few leather chairs and ottoman and our former living room now holds a table that can seat 10-14. the table is also used for crafts and such for the kids. we also have a kitchen island that seats 3. we felt that we didnt need two living rooms (one is downstairs) and the former living room was a waste of space since there is no tv. For our family, this arrangement works best and every room is utilized. our house is 2400 square feet and we cant afford to have a “formal” living room and a dining table that seats only 4.

  3. I love this. I get SO nervous about having people over and I always stress about everything being perfect before they come. If I wait until everything is perfect it will never happen. You’re awesome Sandy!

  4. Very timely indeed, Sandy! I wrote once before about my dining/holiday room space that drives me nuts! My dining room is considered “medium” by architectural standards. My table seats 6-8. For family functions needing seating for 14-17, we MOVE THE TABLE AND ADD ANOTHER TABLE INTO THE LIVING ROOM which drives me nuts (not to mention nicks on my table from young men bumping into walls, but that’s OK cause it adds character and memories!)…As of yesterday my sisters and I started discussing the holidays and who’s hosting which day. I’ve thought of some people eating in the dining room and some in the kitchen; my sister has done that before, but we all like to be together! Now, with the thought of a Christmas tree in the living room as well as a 17 seat table, I’m a bit ooogey already! Last year, I “encouraged” the menfolk to PUT THE TABLE BACK WHERE IT BELONGS after the meal so we could all sit around a spacious, comfortable living room.
    You can tell I’m stressed already!!! Sorry! People do love to come to our home, and we love to entertain; I just haven’t evolved about the table in the living room yet!
    Keeping it real, ladies!

  5. I have just discovered your blog Sandy and am truly enjoying every thing you write! Having bigger and more stuff is not what it’s all about…it’s about enjoying what you have and be grateful for that! Keep up the wonderful writing with your blog! thanks!

  6. i love this post, Sandy. Be grateful, be creative, be open!

    p.s…..having been at many EVENTS, seated at tables of 24 more or less, I don’t covet that. It is very difficult to enjoy all of your guests. And as a guest, feels very stiff and hierarchical. I take sitting in chairs balancing a plate over that any day.

    deb meyers

  7. this is so incredibly good, so timely for me even just this week. i have been struggling with really experiencing contentment in this very area. we recently moved to a beautiful home that GOD truly blessed us with and finally, i thought: we’ll have “enough space” to entertain more! except, i also expected/wanted to be able to furnish this lovely new space with lovely new “things” … not our old, hand-me-down furniture. right?? so we’ve been here two months and literally just today i sort of went, OK … what can i do with what i have, to make this space more beautiful? and to stop feeling like it won’t be good enough, comfortable enough, “ready” for company? and so i opened boxes from the garage, of packed items … older candle holders, pictures, etc … and after spending just a few dollars (“pumpkin spice” candles at walmart are quintessential fall for me!) this space feels so much better.
    and, we are hosting some of my daughters friends this weekend for a girlie crafting and ice cream party, even though our dining room table is “too old, small, dated”, etc. because i *know* the girls won’t care!!
    it is so much bigger than the stuff and i believe GOD is really calling me to choose joy and contentment with what we have right now. period.
    thank you!!!

  8. I loved this post. We forget this too often and it’s nice to be reminded what is really important.

  9. I think there were times I longed for a larger table or larger dining room…now I don’t technically have a dining room but we received a table years ago from friends that is huge. It can be small to seat 6 or expand with several leaves to seat 10-12 which I love. In the next phase of our house we won’t have a dining room but a 9′ island that will function as our “table”.

  10. We have a little house and pack people in :) Casual food goes well in casual, eat off your lap settings.

    It kills me a little when people build GIGANTIC houses and say that they can finally have people over, because they couldn’t before that.

    Your space really is what you make it!

  11. This is such an important reminder! My husband and I share a small rowhouse with three roommates . . . our dining room doubles as the home to 6 bikes. We’re just trying to embrace our current lack of space; we entertain a lot and it’s never caused someone to eat less or enjoy their time less! It’ll make a great story later, too.

  12. I love this post. My husband and I have been talking about something similar a lot lately as we prepare to buy a new home. We were looking at one price range, but then we talked about all the other things we want including private school education for our kids, travel, and being able to extend kindness through giving. What is more important, square footage or experiences for our children and teaching them the value of generosity and giving? sort of becomes a no-brainer at that point.

    Thanks for taking the time to let me feature you and thanks for putting up with my nagging emails. ;)

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