Good Ideas: Hospitality Journal

Do you enjoy pulling together beautiful meals and serving delicious food to friends and family? Would you like to get a little bit better at exercising hospitality?

At a recent conference on hospitality, one of the speakers shared her way of remembering those she fed and what she served. She keeps a journal noting who came to a meal, what the menu was, any special needs, and whether the food was a hit or a bust. It’s a great way to remember all the joys of hospitality past, but it’s also an excellent tool to know who likes what (and who needs to avoid what).

One way that we show love to each other is by noticing and remembering likes and dislikes. If you know your friend doesn’t like pizza at all, you won’t keep suggesting the local pizza place for lunch. You wouldn’t want to bring chicken noodle soup to a sick vegan friend, would you? Better to nix the peanut butter cookies for the family with a nut allergy. These things matter, and any effort we make to consider them for others is part of loving our neighbor.

A simple notebook (or spreadsheet, if you prefer) will allow you to track guests, menus, and preferences. It doesn’t need to be elaborate, just your notes.

Further benefit
If you are getting to know new friends, notes on the conversation will help you connect details with names and faces as you go along. You will more easily remember that John and Jody were the couple that lived in Iceland for a year, for instance. You are collecting memories as you go.

Home and Heart

While talking with friends recently, we discussed the gift of hospitality and exercising the gift for love of others. One part is the motivation we get when we realize that hospitality is part of what makes a house a home.

When you were a kid, you may have made a hideout. Blankets all over the dining room. Flashlight and snacks. But what made it more fun after it was built and furnished? Sharing it! You chose your special person and invited them in. The grand tour was a joy. The company made it cozy.

When you see a gorgeous sunset or a breath-taking ocean shore or a majestic mountain range, what is your second response (after you stand in awe)? You have to share it with somebody, anybody. It’s better together!

We are created for community.

A house that is only a place to hide, to retreat from the world and never share it, is a colder place. Opening up our hearts leads to opening up our homes. Sharing our home is part of sharing ourselves, which is part of loving others.

When we open up our house and share hospitality, home becomes a warm haven of rest and rejoicing, celebration and shared struggles. Memories are made and shared. Traditions are sometimes even created, giving us joys past, present and future. The home is a richer place for all who live in it and  visit it. We enjoy it more because we have included others.

If we have been blessed with a home, it is an opportunity — and a heart-warming joy — to bless others with the same.