Becoming a passionate and competent hostess is much easier than many women have been led to believe. We need to bring together the simple, yet essential, ingredients needed for real entertaining and hospitality. But how do we get there, if we’ve never been shown how?

Even though I learned a lot about hospitality from my Mom while growing up, I still find the need to watch and learn from others. I take notes in my head of little things I like that someone else did, maybe in the form of decorating, cooking, or even in the way they treat their guests.

I’ve taken those ideas, melding them into my own style and flair, creating my own art of entertaining.

Both my friends Jeannie and Faye, are fantastic at hosting dinners, along with their spouses.

What I’ve learned from Faye is to have everything ready when the guests arrive. Faye and Roger are amazing conversationalists and they start from the minute you walk in their front door, as they are both there to greet you. They are so interested in their guests’ lives that conversation is never a problem for them. They know how to create interest and spunk for the whole evening. Undivided attention is what comes to mind as both Roger and Faye take turns in the kitchen, thus never leaving their guests. Their teamwork throughout the evening is beautiful to witness and be a part of.

Jeannie and Minor, on the other hand, have a different style of entertaining. Their overall warmth and authenticity are awe-inspiring. Their deep concern for, and interest in, our whole family has been a testimony for true hospitality. Going deep into our lives, expecting nothing in return, and cheering our family on are what we experience with Minor and Jeannie, in their home and away from it.

Both couples always have very simple, but elegant table settings. They don’t seem to worry about impressing, but they cook delicious foods, and they cater well to kids, as active children do not bother them. I’ve learned to be more relaxed from Jeannie, and I’ve learned to care more about people from Faye!

Taking it a step further, both ladies are excellent mothers, passing down the gift of hospitality to their married children. Faye, now a retired teacher married to retired physician Roger, and Jeannie, married to physician Minor and retired as an RN and social worker, have both mastered the art of entertaining. But they’ve also learned what it means to invest in the lives of others. They have both spent their lives giving away what could be theirs. Learning to value the common life, and not getting caught up in complicated details or unnecessary possessions, I would say that their value of relationships is top on the list. Let me just say it: both ladies have been excellent role models for Paul and me.

Having older women in my life, whom I can continue to watch and learn from, has become an essential ingredient to my entertaining skills, as I continue to learn about this art of hospitality. My children are also now of age where they are starting to watch Paul and me, in how we interact with others and how we value those relationships.

Having healthy role models is a secret to success when it comes to entertaining, if you are willing to take the time to watch and learn!