A beautiful life is about the authentic LIFE we live and how we share it with others!

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So let’s imagine that my friend Melissa Michaels (author of The Inspired Room blog) and her family is coming for dinner tonight! For several years our families only lived 4 hours away from each other. That 4 is now 7 since Melissa has moved to Seattle, so our chances of getting together have become slim. We regret that we didn’t try harder when we lived closer to each other!

Yes, entertaining does take effort. Yes, you have to make it happen. It just doesn’t happen FOR you!

So I’m going to pretend …

It’s beautiful in southern Oregon right now. Cool nights and very warm days. Perfect for entertaining.

I’m setting the table with one of my favorite oilcloth tablecloths made in France. Can you imagine a table cloth you don’t have to wash? These beauties are made to wipe off with a wet sponge – and then they look like new! They’re nothing like the old vinyl or plastic tablecloths that our mother’s used to use. They are gorgeous and so practical for entertaining. You can find oilcloth tablecloths here (no, I am not paid to show you these!)

So the table is set for our family, and for Melissa and her husband and son. But if her daughters and son-in-law happen to pop in later, that would make our dinner party even more fun! I can be spontaneous! The more the merrier!

Simple table set – a few votive candles and snips of iris’ from our yard.

Food prepared – halibut that melts in your mouth and fresh salad from our garden. Perhaps a fresh plate of tomatoes with salt and white pepper with a drizzle of oil.

Melissa’s bringing dessert (power of delegation!)

Backyard ready for guests – easy ambience.

Kids ready to hang and play with Melissa’s son.

Maybe we’d dangle our feet in the pool after dinner.

Music is playing.

The night is young.

More than the ambience or the tablescape though, what makes entertaining real for me is the connection. The conversation that will take place, relationships that will be forged, and the intimacy that is shared.

It’s how we make a difference in this world — by reaching out to new families that come into our lives.

It’s called real entertaining for real people.

Do you have friends that live in different states that you long to have over for dinner, especially on a cool summer evening?

(Melissa is the author of The Inspired Room blog, where she encourages beautiful, authentic living. We share similar views on keeping things simple, especially when it comes to entertaining. Melissa endorsed my new book, so if you get a chance to read the back cover — this is the Melissa I am writing about here today!)