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Practicing hospitality, not the Martha Stewart way

May 17th, 2011

Two values I would like to pass on to my children are hospitality and generosity.

Unfortunately, I am not very good at either.

Years ago I went to an Emily Barnes seminar at her home in Riverside. She gave a piece of advice about hospitality that I have not forgotten.

People are more concern about relationships and your love for them than the decor in your home.

I’m not a good housekeeper; I am not a creative decorator. That would be my sister’s department. Emily’s advice is that people look for genuine relationships, not an impressive home.

With the growing interest in DIY home improvements and Martha Stewart for the common man woman, there are expectations that homes should have that “coordinated look.” I bought into the fear that if I don’t have a HGTV house, I can’t invite people over. But over the years, I’ve been more courageous in having friends to my house. I simply put all the junk upstairs, and open the door to my friends.

Emily is correct. The focus of hospitality is the fellowship. Having a beautiful home to impress people was just to feed my pride. The joy of being able to open my home is worth the occasional cleaning up that it requires. I probably should clean up anyway.

Hint: Invest in a nice table cloth. It draws the attention away from everything else that you don’t want your guests to notice.



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  1. When your personality and smile are genuine, nothing else will matter.


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