The other day I was tired. Not go-to-bed tired, but more of a don't-feel-like-doing-much-of-anything tired.
It took my six-year old reminding me that we'd had a lot of guests lately and I was "probably tired from doing the laundry and cleaning so much. And from going to the grocery store so many times. And maybe from vacuuming a lot."
To be precise, our family welcomed seventy-eight people over the course of a week for four different events. For our 3,000 square feet of home, that meant every room had been lived in and turned upside down in some way.
Thankfully my husband is a rock star team mate and we work well together without really even saying much. Its almost like an obvious "I do this and you do that" is said just by looking at all that needs to be done before guests come and after guests leave. (Or maybe it's because we're 16 years into this gig and have learned through trial and error.) (Or maybe it's a combination of both.) (Or maybe he really is a rock star, plain and simple.)
My kids are pretty great, too. They know toys go in bins and boxes and on shelves. They know who vacuums what and when. And, better yet, they know all this gets done before anything else. Bedtime can be extended. Playing can wait. Dessert will be ready later on. Snap to it - chores await!
My mom used to say, "It you have time to get yourself ready for bed by brushing your teeth and washing your face, you have time to get your house ready for bed by doing dishes and putting things away." I admit, sometimes to a fault, I live by that. My sheets aren't pulled back and my pillow isn't fluffed until my house is in order.
Team Peeler. We're a work in progress, for sure, but we're working together. Working together to make our home and our lifestyle one that invites others in.
Because you know what? People are lonely. People want to belong. People want to talk and laugh and share. And people want to eat a meal that they didn't prepare. At least I do.
Paper plates or nice dinnerware. Thirteen ingredient recipes or toss-n-dump crock pot. Grilling or take out. Adding leaves and chairs and sitting around the table or spreading out and eating on the couch. None of it matters. Those are details of entertaining and that's different than simply making your space and your time available to others.
Pretty please can I suggest something?
Never ever be consumed with appearance. Pinterest is great for special occasion entertaining but isn't necessary for being kind or generous or welcoming.
Never ever think you need a big house or an HGTV house to have people over. Space allows you to do more and invite more but doesn't automatically create relationships or conversations.
Never ever think you need to be a bright and shiny extrovert to open your door to others coming in. I'm not one and my husband isn't one, but we've experienced the joy from serving others in our home and have learned to include an extrovert or two on the invite list to help us out. (Truth: I can smile and talk and laugh and work a room, but when I close the door and say goodbye to the last person I am done. DONE. Silence and alone time will be perfect for the next several hours, thank you very much.)
Never ever think you need to have the gift of hospitality to have others in your home. Hospitality is easier for some than others, but it's something that blesses everyone involved when we choose to exercise it.
So, like I said, the other day I was tired. But I'm not tired now and so when I think back to last week I have to admit I'd do it all over again. God has given our family much; what's the joy in keeping it to ourselves?
(All of these unrelated pics of my kids rock climbing? Courtesy of a friend who invited us to join her kids for a day of climbing. Her invitation. Her generosity. Her thoughtfulness. See that? Inviting people into your life reciprocates!)