I live in Atlanta, Georgia. Home of the Braves, high temperatures, and southern hospitality.
I love hospitality! In fact, I think if you quiz my closest friends and relatives they would tell you that hospitality is in my blood. I enjoy having guests in my home for dinner or for weeklong visits. It is a joy to feed them a meal (or meals), take care of their needs, and make them feel very welcome in my home. It makes me smile just typing about it.
The other day I got to experience a hospitality unlike any I had ever experienced before. I was invited into the home of a beautiful lady who loves to practice hospitality as much as me. She welcomed me and 6 other ladies into her home for a brunch honoring her daughter's birthday. Her daughter is a dear friend of mine and I was thrilled to have a brunch to celebrate her life.
Well....I don't think I was prepared. Her mom had a beautifully-decorated home and an outfit that was perfectly accessorized and lovely. She added to her charm with a VERY slow southern drawl that can only be found in the deep south. She exuded southern charm and hospitality. I feel a great connection to this lady (minus the beautifully decorated home and perfectly accessorized outfit). She wanted us to feel welcome.
We sat down to chat and she came around with a lovely tray with sparking crystal glasses filled to the perfect measure with orange juice. Apparently this was our pre-brunch refreshment to partake while we visited briefly. Then we followed her into the lovely dining room that was set with fine china, an elegant center piece, and new crystal glasses for our brunch beverage.
She delicately took our previous crystal and gently and politely guided us to our seats so she could "say grace" and serve us brunch. It was so beautiful. So fancy. So elegant. So lovely. I felt so welcome.
I left that brunch feeling very cherished. She has treated me in the best way she knew how. She wrapped me in sweet southern words and filled my belly with scrumptuos southern food.
My version of hospitality is VERY different.
I welcome you into my mis-matched furniture home.
Invite you to help yourself to anything you would like to drink.
If you would like a pre-meal beverage it is most definitely not going to be served in crystal. In addition, whichever cup you choose will remain yours for the entire event.
I prepare one of my best meals and, since I do not own fine china, I serve it on some pottery I acquired in Poland.
I almost NEVER have napkins, but instead often revert to a square off the paper towel roll. (I am pretty sure my sweet southern brunch hostess would fall over in horror at this lack of etiquette on my part.)
We both love people. We both love to serve. We offer hospitality from our hearts. It is out of genuine love and service that we constantly open our doors to others (beautiful front door for her and usually back door or side garage door for me).
There is no doubt that people share their hearts in different ways. Even though I will never host a brunch like my sweet southern brunch hostess, I certainly hope my guests feel as loved and cherished when they leave my home, as I did when I left hers.
I personally cannot wait to welcome 16 families from all over the country to experience Inheritance of Hope's incredible hospitality. One of my favorite parts of my job as Legacy Retreat Coordinator is being the welcoming face and voice to these families and introducing them to our amazing team of volunteers and staff. There is no doubt they will all leave feeling so loved and cherished!
By the way, when my friend's mom prompted her to open her birthday cards at the table following our elegant brunch I inwardly began to chuckle. You see, my taste in birthday card follows my playful, laid back, and generally fun sense of hospitality. I knew my card would be like a bull in this china shop.
She opened the card from her mom which was a lovely poem adorned with some beautiful flowers and well-thought-out kind words. Then she opened a few more sensible, sweet cards from the other guests.
Then....she....opened....mine...."YOU ARE LOOKING FINE!!!!!......THAT IS ONE FINE PIECE OF HUMAN SPECIMEN..... I COULD JUST EAT YOU UP....YUM YUM YUM!!"
Did I mention it was a card that spoke? Have you heard of hoops and yoyo? They have loud, annoying, crazy voices that usually repeat silly things a couple of times too many.
I don't know if I'll ever get another invitation by my friend's mom to return to her house. I do, however, love the new picture in my mind of this beautiful woman showing love to others. (Additionally, I LOVE the picture in my mind of her sweet proper face when she heard my card that spoke yelled crazy things at her daughter.)