The Heart of Hospitality with Guest Amy Bayliss

Welcome to our hospitality study!!!

Before reading today’s post, let me remind you of two other ways you can connect during this study.

First, remember to head over and “Like” Karen Ehman’s Book Studies on Facebook. Although the study will take place here each day, you all can post ideas and questions over at that page for additional interaction and community.

And once most gals have gotten their book, we’ll also do some fun giveaways based on info from the book too! Click here to ‘like’ the page.

Second, we will have an idea swap & share on each of the next three Fridays. If you are a blogger, we will have a link up. If you aren’t, you can share your ideas in the comment thread.

This Friday’s swap & share topic will be your best company recipe. It can be a main dish, side dish, snack or dessert. Mark your calendar now so you can have a post ready to go or your recipe typed out to put in the comment thread.

Well, we kick off today with a great guest and with getting our hearts in the right place.

I know some of you are still waiting for your books so let’s start with a topic in the beginning of the book but one any of you can comment on even if you haven’t read this week’s chapters. (Chapters 1-3)

THE HEART OF HOSPITALITY.

What is it?

Why have others over?

Is it to impress them? Or to bless them?

Our guest today will help us to gain a heart of hospitality. Meet her now!

Amy Bayliss is a writer, web designer, blogger, and a digital publishing mentor, but her favorite job is being wife To Ryan and mama to four boys from toddler to teen.

When Amy isn’t wrangling her brood you can find her posting at her personal website, Cajun Joie de Vivre

(link to http://amybayliss.com). 

She is also the author of the just released Pursuit of Proverbs 31 (link to: http://pursuitofproverbs31.com).

Now, from Amy’s heart:

There are things that thrill us as children. For me it was Holly Hobby sheets that smelled of Strawberry Shortcake dolls, sweet and creamy coffee milk sipped out of a treasured mug, and a fun trinket from Stuckey’s. That is what I remember most about my visits to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

It wasn’t the sheets, the milk, or the trinket that made a difference in my life, it was knowing how much Grandma had thought of me before I arrived and how she went out of her way to plan for my visit.

One of the most valuable skills I’ve learned from Grandma, a true Southern Belle, is hospitality. I’ve never forgotten how important and cherished she made me and others feel when they came for a visit.

She always says, “Amy, people might forget your conversations but they will never forget how you made them feel. Make sure they felt loved.”

Grandma is a wise woman. We could learn a lot from her. She embodies an art that is quickly fading in our fast paced, technology-driven culture. There are some things that should remain old fashioned. I believe hospitality is one of them. Here are some tips:

~Pray for Your Guests

This may seem simple but it should not be overlooked. The bible tells us that out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. It is a good thing to be sure that our heart is pure towards our guests and their visit or else they could feel more like intruders. If we have angst or stress it is sure to reveal itself through our talk and actions. Don’t allow that to prevent you from sharing your love and your hospitality with your guests.

~Learn More About Your Guests

Do they like Chicken Parmesan? Do they have food allergies? Do they have a preference for entertainment? Learning more about them will allow you to have things they enjoy readily available during their stay.

Before a visit, Grandma would call me 2-3 times just to ask me silly questions. Well, I thought they were silly at the time but it turns out that she was asking these questions so she could prepare for my arrival. She tells me she learned of my favorite foods, places to visit, and favorite story books because she asked. It is a great concept when you think about it: just ask.

~Personalize Something

In my closet is a large plastic container stuffed full of cards and notes. Every visit resulted in a new handwritten gift just for me. Receiving that note on my pillow or that sweet blessing on a paper napkin at dinner made me feel like the most special girl in the world.

Instead of digital “likes”, emailing, or leaving a post on someone’s social media wall, leave your guests a note of welcome or a gift basket of pampering bath products complete with a card. Other ways to show them love is to make simple name cards to assign seating at the table. It shows that they were thought of well in advance.

~Prepare for Their Arrival

I recall a day in my childhood when we visited my grandparents unannounced. I ran to what I thought was “my” room and saw that my Holly Hobby sheets were gone, my room didn’t smell of strawberries, and there was no chocolate milk in the fridge. I was broken hearted. I cried.

Years later Grandma explained to me that she only did those things when she knew I was coming. The rest of the time “my” bedroom was a guest room. As a child I didn’t understand it but as an adult it came to mean the world to me. Grandma did all those things, every single time, just for me.

By having all of the preparation done before your guest arrives you will offer them the feeling of security, the warmth of love, and you give yourself the gift of time to enjoy their company. No one wants to be the hostess running around looking for pillowcases and extra place settings while the guest sits somberly on the sofa. Without a doubt, no one would want to be that guest either.

Take a note from Grandma. Love is something to be shared and it is best shared when you put some thought into it!

Now for Amy’s Great giveaway:

One lucky winner will receive a gift basket of their choice.

You can choose between — the pride of Louisiana’s Community Coffee — coffee or tea.

You can’t go wrong with either gift basket.

I promise, this will be a pleasant treat for your taste buds. But remember; share the love with your guests!

Okay, to be entered to win Amy’s giveaway, tell us about a time you felt welcomed, pampered and loved at someone’s home. Or, an idea of what YOU think makes others feel special when they come to your house?

All 20 winners from the next 20 days will be announced the day after Easter.

Okay, let’s hear your tales of welcome!

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418 Comments

  1. When I traveled with the college ensemble we stayed in homes almost every night of the summer & many weekends of the school year. I remember one home we stayed in the lady left a basket of snacks and stocked the fridge with refreshing drinks she thought we would like. The next morning when we left, she gave us each a bag with a kind note inside. It wasn’t the stuff that made me feel welcome, but the prior preparation.

  2. My parents-in law have always made me very welcome, but when my husband and I started having children, my in-laws went above and beyond to make their home like a home away from home for us. They are now empty nesters, so they’ve turned one bedroom into the kids room. My son now has “his” own room to sleep and play in with fun bed sheets and lots of toys. My mom-in-law has learned what my kids like to eat and snack on, so I don’t have to bring our whole kitchen along on visits! I could go on and on about all they’ve done, but long story short, they’ve made it fun and easy for us to visit w/ the kids, and I am very thankful!

  3. My grandmother always allowed me to eat and do things I wasn’t allowed to do at home: drink coffee(mostly milk) etc.

  4. My husband and I visited distant family in Switzerland and they had the best hospitality we have experienced….a guest suite in the lower level of their home with wonderful hospitality touches. And, the fresh bakery breads in the morning along with her homemade goodies were fabulous!

  5. A time I have felt pampered was when I was touring with student ambassors and we were in New Zealand. Me and another leader went to our home stay home and the family had our rooms already made up told us to go up and rest. While we were unpacking and getting ready to lay down for a bit she knocked on our door and brought in these amazing chocolate muffins and tea. I laid down a felt totally warm and welcomed.

  6. Oh! I loved Amy’s writing and rememberances! I also loved going to my grandparents farm .. and still do! In fact, my grandparents host Sunday night dinner for the entire clan .. about 30 of us– every single Sunday night! And when it’s your birthday week, you get to choose the menu. So, for my 40th bday in Feb, we had homemade mac n cheese, bbq chicken and oriental chicken salad .. bc these are my favorites!!

  7. My grandmother always used to cook for Sunday dinner. I always remember her fixing my favorite foods and as I got older I noticed that she tried to do that for all the family members so that everyone had something to eat they loved! She is 93 now and still loves to cook for people.

  8. My Mom and Dad really make me feel welcome when I visit. My mom gives up her bed so that I can sleep in it. She sleeps on a pull out couch when I come. (Mom and Dad have separate bedrooms, so It doesn’t interrupt where he sleeps.) My Dad goes out of his way by fixing all the meals. He makes sure my boys have pancakes with special cups for the syrup. He fixes eggs however you request them. They just make you feel welcome and I love them so much!!

  9. What a sweet memories you have with your grandmother! My mother-in-law lets me use her sauna tub whenever we visit – and OH it is such a treat! I always tell her that one day I’m not going to come back down. :) It’s upstairs in her private bathroom and I appreciate that she lets me use it!

  10. When I was young I also loved to spend the night at my grandparents house. I loved that when I went my grandmother would go in the bathroom before I took a bath and left a towel, wash cloth, and hand towel out for me. I never knew what the hand towel was for until many years later. My grandmother gave me permission to use any of her shampoos, conditioners, and body washes. I loved that, in my house we had one shampoo and conditioner and a bar of dial soap everyone shared. I felt pampered!

  11. In thinking about the best hospitality I ever experienced, it is tough…. my mom as well as her mom (Mamaw) and even her mom are TRULY blessed with the gift of hospitality. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to do this study so that I can also learn the art of serving others through giving.

  12. The best thing I have been told about my house and hospitality has pretty much been that it was available for them. I have a guest that is homeless right now and the #1 thing she loves is the fact that the “room” (side nook in reality) has a waterbed. For this means warmth to her since she is used to being cold all the time. Having room for them to put their things if staying overnight is another.

    My family has been gifted from God with a house that gives us enough room to have an extra “bedroom” nook We have had foster children, a child from church that was working thru some issues, and now a friend of a friend that was homeless. Originally I kept thinking of each as a permanent resident, but am now coming to see that they will all be as temporary stays in their journey. So bless them for the time they are there and don’t sweat the small stuff.

  13. To this day, memories of what my grandmothers (Gram & Granmom) did to welcome our family when we visited is still very fresh. Whether it was homemade chocolate pudding w/ saran wrap over the top (so it wouldn’t get a ‘skin’ on it), fresh coffee percolating in the morning to three types of homemade cookies waiting for us along w/ her famous mashed potatoe donuts…they took the time to do and make the little things that we really enjoyed!

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