Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New Obsession: Hospitality

Surely there is some happy zone that lies between boredom and fatigue, but I’m having trouble locating it. Instead I am swinging from one extreme to the other. During the summer exodus, things were quiet to the point of boredom (except for 4th of July, when the English-speaking community came out of the woodwork).

Now the rest of the “family” is returning, and I am exhausted.

After a week in the U.S being spoiled with hospitality and meals by my new ddil’s family and friends, I was inspired to more fully use what I have to bless others.

Last Thursday I hosted a dinner party for a couple who recently returned from furlough. Included were the couple they are staying with while they are house hunting. Before I knew it, the kids insisted we also invite their youth leaders (plus their two babies). The husband’s mom was visiting from the States, so of course, we included her, too.

That’s how it happened that amid my 3-hour naps to conquer the effects of Dengue, we ended up with eleven plus a high chair and an infant around our table. It was great catching up with those three couples, especially since my dishwashers (aka “dc”) were working.

Two days later, my heart went out to two families who had just arrived after a summer in the U.S. and hadn’t possibly had time to drive to the city for groceries; so yes, we had another dinner party on Saturday night. Believe me, this is not typical for me, but a new obsession with hospitality.

Monday was our first day of school. Jonny (his real name, by the way), my ds, left at 7:00 AM for the MK school in the city, and I started our official year of home schooling the two remaining girls at home. All was fine until dh reminded me that Monday was the day the missions pastor from our kids’ church in California was coming with his wife and a local pastor. You guessed it. They stayed for lunch.

Be patient with me; I’m not quite done.

Then finally there is another family heading out to do their translation and linguistic work in a village, so we agreed to keep their son for six weeks since he is attending the same school as ds. Remembering how hard it was to clean and close down an apartment before going back to the village, I, of course, offered to have their family for supper before they leave.

I think I have possibly gone a wee bit overboard. What do you think?

It all goes to show how one family’s willingness to host and feed my family, extending hospitality during the week of their daughter’s wedding, has drawn out the good in me, causing me to strive to be more generous with my own heart and home. Who knows but maybe their kindness will trigger a whole movement of people blessing others even when it’s not the most optimal time?

And maybe, just maybe, moderation is overrated when it comes to hospitality.

IRL* If I can’t have my own twelve family members around my big ol’ table, it’s still fun to fill it with other people we love.


  1. I don't know how you do it all, Jamie Jo! Bless your heart!


  2. That's a risk we always take, sounding like we are busier than we actually are. Trust me, I still probably have way more time on my hands than many women. Nothing compares to those early years with little kids demanding attention 24/7, no matter where we live. Compared to that, dealing with chronic illness, being a single mom, and many other situations, this is a walk in the park.

    I love hearing "bless your heart" though. Thanks, Linda. Your comment blessed me!

  3. I love it, Jamie Jo: the "happy zone between boredom and fatigue." Let me know if you find it because believe me, that's what I'm looking for myself! A hard balance to find...Grace to you as school starts. Life is picking up for me too with home school starting...

  4. LIfting you can find the needed energy. Wishing we were starting school as I had planned vs. waiting in Michigan for H. Irene to get out of the way so we can go home. Being blessed by my folks who are hosting us for longer than they thought. Blessings. Fauche.

  5. THanks, Olive. May your school year be the best yet.

    Kris, I'd choose planned busyness over unplanned limbo any day. We're lifting your need to get home, and grace for your parents as their plan changed with yours. (((Hugs)))

  6. Love this, Jamie Jo! Hospitality can be addicting! ;-) I miss not having had people as much this past month due to us trying to organize the house and settle in before the school year starts. I am glad you were shown hospitality on your trip to the U.S. for your son's wedding. I'm sure it made a huge positive difference on the usual wear and tear traveling can bring.

  7. Hey - love the triangle table!!!! What a nice idea!
    (Sorry, I did read the post, but my attention was caught by the table!)

  8. The back-to-school settling in is a bear, isn't it, Lidia? I think you are wise to postpone major hospitality until things are under control and back to routine.

    Ellie, thanks for noticing! I came up with the idea myself to best utilize the small space we have. Once #7 outgrew the highchair, our table for 8 needed to be upgraded, but it was the biggest round table that fit. A rectangle would have pushed someone off the step leading into the living room. Thus the triangle!


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