31. Practice hospitality. Invite people over, don’t worry about how clean the house is.
I started working in the hospitality industry the summer I turned 15. Deb & TIm hired me to clean rooms and wash dishes in their Bed & Breakfast south of my small hometown. I’m sure my impeccable homemaker Mother tried to instill these same values in me, but when I look back, it was Deb that taught me to double-check to make sure the towels were completely dry, lest they get moldy in the closet. It was Deb that taught me to vacuum my way out of a room so my footprints didn’t show on the carpet. It was Deb that taught me to artfully arrange crostini on a platter and throw pillows on a king bed. It was Deb that taught me to eat steak medium, instead of well-done, like I thought I liked it. I soon graduated to helping with prep cooking in her small catering kitchen, was given the opportunity to plate meals, and served hors d’oeuvres and cocktails at events.
Another fancy restaurant job in high school taught me to make a mean espresso and cappuccino, run an industrial meat slicer and dishwasher, and gave me confidence in waiting tables. By the time I was 18 years old, I had fallen in love with the industry of hospitality.
I worked for various hotel companies after college and worked my way up the ladder. I was a Divisional Global Director of Marketing for a Denver-based hospitality management company when my position was eliminated in 2010. I survived the recession, but my job couldn’t survive poor business management and a portfolio fire sale. I left the hospitality industry exhausted and a bit jaded.
As the months have passed and the bad taste left after my last job have faded, I realize that I may never be involved in the industry again, but I still love the art of hospitality.
It’s easy to be distracted by feeling busy, or tired, or like I don’t have time, or by thinking my house is too messy, or I don’t know what to cook, but at the end of the day, “Most of the people we invite into our homes have food in their own refrigerator and are hungry instead for personal connection, words of warmth and love and encouragement.”
This is an ongoing internal work, but I’ve been trying to be more intentional about inviting people over, by enthusiastically saying “yes” to out of town guests, to friends dropping by. I want our home to be a place where hearts are nourished, bellies are fed, and where grace is experienced by all.
Kelly of The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking, a blogger I follow, penned the quote above, and has been writing a 31 day series on simple hospitality. I love her suggestions and ideas – pop on over to read all her wisdom and encouragement.