Tag Archives: Hospitality

Perfecting Our Days


Just this afternoon I read answers from a well-known author who was asked a series of typical ice breaker type questions. The one that has rattled around in my brain all evening was this: describe a perfect day. Her answer was detailed. The location and activities, right down to the football game that would be on the TV were mentioned; the menu and the guest list were specific. It was the sort of event that I would love to attend!

I’ve been thinking about how I would answer the question today. Right now. Because, the truth is that the answer is a moving target for me, and I think I might not be alone in that.

Reflecting on the past week, I thought it included a couple of perfect days. Friday night I played a hilarious game with a group of women I love after walking on the beach in the afternoon with my sweet hubby. Over the weekend I got to cook for and chat with my women – my family. And then yesterday…I went to the happiest place on earth with my cousin!

Beach WalkingHonestly, each day had its moments. The beach trip? Traffic on the way home was horrific. Bumper to bumper with my navigator (who would much rather drive than ride) stressing more every mile. We were behind schedule the rest of the day due to the hour delay.

Cooking and serving for my sweet family brought up all sorts of discontent over stuff like tableware!

The Magic Kingdom was packed yesterday. Apparently it’s Spring break somewhere in the South. As I explained to my young cousin from the Midwest, you know people are from the South when they address their children “first name, middle name” and every family member is wearing monogrammed clothing. Lines and wait times were long with charming southerners.


And yet, each of these is securely locked in the “perfect day” pages of my mental scrapbook. And the reason is simple. I know that “perfect” days aren’t perfect. They are normal days, when wonderful things happen.

Imagine this: your closest and dearest friend has died. The one friend who had the potential to impact this dire situation is taking his sweet time showing up. The day is off to a rough start when that same friend seems to be in denial about your mutual friend’s status. You might even be a little mad about his apparent blasé response. But then…as you are watching for him, he shows up.

Jesus spoke to Lazarus and he walked out of the grave, still wrapped in the burial garments. A bad day turned perfect, I would say. I think Lazarus and the ones who loved him would agree!

Traffic that disrupts schedules is an annoyance, but it doesn’t have to rob the day of its shine. I won’t wait until everything is “perfect” to entertain. When I’m in an amazing place with people I love, I hope I can relax and enjoy the moment without losing patience over annoying circumstances.

Perhaps perfect days are the ones when I’m watching for Jesus; when things are going as bad as they can get and he shows up.

Perfect Days.jpg

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him… John 11:20

“Yes Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is come into the world.” John 11:27


Recovery and the Crazy Cycle


Company is coming! I love having house guests! I’m so excited I can barely stand it.

She’s twenty something, a nursing student in search of sunshine and rest. She’s a college kid from the Midwest; she’s smart and beautiful and busy. Really busy, because when she’s not in a class or studying for a class she’s working as a tech at the hospital or coaching the high school girls’ volleyball team. When she sleeps it’s usually at someone else’s home where she’s pet and/or house sitting. She’s my second cousin…she’s family and I love her. Jill is coming to stay with us for a few days! I am giddy. And maybe a little crazy with preparation.

I have it on good authority that she hasn’t seen the floor in her bedroom in a while (sorry, Jill)…that bit shared with me confidentially and now known by all of my gentle readers. But seriously, isn’t that normal for college students who are constantly on the go?


I only mention that because I spent the weekend in what my children refer to as “get out of the way, mom’s getting ready for company” mode. I’ve been known to redecorate, reconfigure and even remodel a day or two before house guests arrive. Limited only by the budget, my imagination and the number of hours in a weekend, I prep and primp and replace after a detailed inventory and review of the ENTIRE house (inside and out) with a most critical eye. Suddenly the bath towels that have been perfectly fine for us are not fit to dry the car off. The dish cloths are embarrassing and every single room needs paint touch up. No detail is too small: the flowers at the front door – really, poinsettias still in the planter in March? That will never do! Off to Lowe’s for geraniums.

On Saturday, I precariously balanced on the edge of the tub in the master bath, pliers in hand, attempting to remove the shower head. For weeks I’d been walking past the new one as it lay ignored in the dining room on a seldom-used chair. Suddenly, Jill is coming, and while she’ll never even use that shower and would likely not even notice the box in the dining room if left there, I was compelled to risk life, limb and an emergency plumbing call because “everything” needed to be done in preparation for her arrival.

That’s when it hit me that I was going there…again. In the course of well-intentioned and needed preparation I had jumped onto the crazy cycle of “Everything has to be perfect if people are coming”.

I’m darn good at house cleaning, likely because of years of experience. I was mentored by one of the best, my dear mother. She taught me how to deep clean; and until the day she died, she declared to me “No one can clean my house like you!” That’s a heavy mantle, my friends, but one that I gladly assumed.

Only recently have I realized that my compulsion for clean and tidy is more about my desire for approval than health and safety. Factor in my tendency to be a pleaser and the result is me perched on the edge of the tub performing plumbing repairs, setting up the perfect storm of disappointment.

Whether at my hubby for not recognizing the many things that I think obviously need to be addressed or in my guests for not “appreciating” the details arranged for them, it will happen. If my motivation is flawed, every interaction will be spoiled. God forbid!

According to Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, hospitable is defined as being “given to generous and cordial reception of guests,” “offering a pleasant and sustaining environment,” and “readily receptive: open, open to new ideas.”

So often when I prepare for guests, I focus on making our home ready for our guests. It truly is important for bathrooms to be clean and bedding to be fresh; I’m certain that Jill will be glad I cleared the cobwebs in the guest room.

But when considering the full definition of hospitable, I am challenged to evaluate how inviting and welcoming I am as a person. Too many times, I’ve worn myself out physically and abused my body (and at times my family) in the preparation of the house only to realize that my heart was in shambles. The more important aspect of hospitality is that our home be a place of peace and rest, a place where guests feel at ease, valued and welcome.

I am also becoming aware of the need to trust my house guests with my home and myself just as we are. Our guests love us; they are drawn to our home. That, my friends, is a blessing.

Yes, there will be special touches designed to convey, without words, to our sweet Jill “We are so glad you chose us to spend your Spring break with; we love you and we want to care for you”. I’m learning that practicing hospitality requires inviting friends into our imperfection; it’s trusting them to look past our spotted glass and stained furniture to our hearts. For a recovering approval-seeking perfectionist, that’s a big leap of faith, friends.

Intentionally preparing my heart for guests is new to me; I’m not as natural at it as I am the house cleaning/planning part. Praying for them, and asking God to give us opportunities to speak love and grace into their lives seems a good place to start, so that’s my plan. And flowers…fresh flowers and a cute little card on her pillow with the wireless password, because, well, my name is Lorraine. I’m a recovering perfectionist, and I just love taking good care of my guests.


“So we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:8 NIV