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. Amy’s story reminded me of my grandparents too. My grandmother put these red and white striped sheets on my bed…I LOVED them! It was my Mom that taught me we should make guests feel welcome. Our family is very tight knit and we can be daunting if you don’t come from a similar situation. It’s our job to include our guests and make them welcome in our little group. Welcome means asking and listening as well as putting into practice the favorite foods, places to eat, or activities our guests enjoy, not just sharing our favorites.

  2. I know I am late, it has been one of those weeks! But I am trying to catch up. When I have guests come, I try to leave little bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotion and soap, just like you would find at a hotel. I think it is an even better idea to give a basket with a card. Just to show them how much you appreciate them being in your home!

  3. As you can see, I’m getting a late start in this Bible study on hospitality–but I can’t wait to learn all God has planned for us about how to bless others in our homes.
    Many years ago I went to Guatemala for language school. Some missionaries, that I didn’t know, met me at the airport and insisted that I stay in their home. They had a small room (smaller than many of your walk-in closets) with a single bed set up in it for me. Their home was small, so ‘my’ room was also used to store many things–but the LOVE in that home was so beautiful and precious. Mary had made a special and yummy dessert to share on my first evening there, and when I went to my room, she brought me a decanter of clean water. They all made me feel like family from the first moment we met. I still cherish the time the LORD gave me with them.
    Thanks to everybody who has shared their ideas. I pray I will put many of them into practice.

  4. As a kid, the neighbor lady always had a well stocked snack drawer. If I stopped in, I knew that I could go to the snack drawer and pick out whatever I wanted. Cookies in a tin, crackers with the spreadable cheese, and somedays Little Debbie snacks. I always knew that afterschool or during the summer, I was welcomed in her house as she had a special drawer for me!

  5. I was just invited to my first ever mom/kids play date, I was a little nervous. but when I arrived, my kids walked right on in and I was warmly welcomed. there weren’t tables decorated with fancy treats or chairs set up in a certain way. it was laid back, relaxing and real. I felt welcome and at home due to the way the hostess welcomed us and how laid back the play date was. she was very patient and gracious with our kids and with the mess :-)

  6. The best hospitality I’ve experienced didn’t involve fancy foods or fluffy towels or anything like that. It was when my hosts (family or otherwise) took the time to just SIT and TALK. Forget getting breakfast out at a certain time, or checking email, or putting the trash out the night before. They simply enjoyed my presence – and let me enjoy theirs!

  7. My husband and I moved to Texas for a year, we had no family and very few friends . My husband was in Commercial Diving School, and one of the other students knew he had no extended family in the Rea. He invited us to come to his parents house, with him, for Christmas son that we would. Not be alone. Well, we went and his mother was spectacular when it came to hospitality! She had presents for us, she turned on a heating blanket each night to warm our bed, she made sure that we had a basket of snacks in our room. This is one fine way to make guests feel like familyL

  8. I love the opportunity to extend hospitality. One of the easiest, least expensive things I do is to make certain the guests beds are sprayed with a scented linen spray as I put fresh linens down. The soothing scent of lavendar, cotton or camomille wafts out from the sheets as they crawl in. It’s a great to welcome them to my home.

  9. My mom always has special treats for my kids when we visit. Chocolate milk on hand, candy in the candy jar and a basket of goodies which would include a color book with crayons, squirt guns, sidewalk chalk, bubbles and some more simple things. Then on my bed pillow she would have some little things for me to enjoy.

  10. My aunt would always keep her freezer stocked with homemade cookies. She would greet you with a hug at the door and run to the freezer. Then we would visit and before we would leave the cookies were thawed and we shared great times and great treats!

  11. Something I learned from my favorite aunt was to stop the cleaning and doing and just sit and enjoy the guest. She always told me that it wasn’t often that I came, so she wanted to spend every minute with me. That made me feel so special. I really try to have the major things done before my guest come, so I can enjoy them.

  12. My fiance and I live 5 hours apart. He knows I love chocolate milk for breakfast. So, while I’m getting ready for the day, he’ll make me a glass of chocolate milk when I’m at his house. When he visits me, when he’s getting ready for the day, I’ll make his coffee and eggs the way he likes them.

  13. One of the most lovely gifts of hospitality we ever received came after the home-going of my sweet mother-in-law. The family farm and home had been sold a few years prior to her death, but at the time of the funeral, the new owners invited the entire family (we all lived out of town) to come and “take over the farm” for the weekend so we could re-live the precious memories we had all shared there. It was therapeutic for us all and one of the most thoughtful gifts of hospitality we had ever experienced!

  14. I’ll never forget when I was in college and on a choir tour over spring break. One of the houses I stayed in showed an amazing display of hospitality. The hostess went all out for our breakfast. It was so detailed and amazingly beautiful. We were complete strangers to this family but they made us feel so welcomed as overnight guests in their home.

  15. My husband and I always seem to have company. Every night as we begin to fix the evening meal we will have a friend or family member stop in. At first I could not understand why they seemed to have the need to stop in so randomly. But as we began to discuss it one night when we were alone, we realized that this is what we were called to do. Each one of our friends or family members have a need to be loved and by inviting them in we are not only sharing a hot meal with them or a warm blanket and couch, but also the love of Jesus Christ. We share our home, our food and most importantly Jesus’ love with those around us. Even though we are not any older than 30, by opening up our home and our hearts we can greatly impact those around us.

  16. Weekends at my grandparent’s home were wonderful. I felt so profoundly loved and accepted. i cannot put it into words beyond that.

  17. Several years ago when I hosted the family Thanksgiving dinner, I made up little cups of candy and attached a buisness size card to them saying – Lord thank you for (name) and why I was thankful for that person I had 24 of them lined up on the counter and to my amazement everyone old enough to read took the time to read all of them and everyone took theirs home with them – none were left behind forgotten as often happens with little favors.

  18. When my niece (10) and nephew (9) come to my house, I make sure I have their favorite foods and games ready. I plan the time I spend with them around what they like to do. Sometimes we have sleep-overs and I have special snack food. We’ve even decorated a cake and cupcakes together and made gingerbread houses cause it’s a fun activity and they enjoy it!

  19. I remember the time I was about 10 and some family friends had me stay at their house for the weekend. They had food that I liked to eat. This included a box of Chocolate Malted Milk Balls that I had all to myself. This was pretty special, as I only got candy for special occasions. In fact, I ate too many that I got a sick stomach. :-) They did not have children of their own and they made me feel like a princess.

  20. I remember staying with my friend for a night just to get away and have a break from the kids and hubby – it was to be a girl’s night. She had little bottles of various scents of shower gel in the guest bathroomfor me, she’d laid out a brand new toothbrush and toothpaste, sample size bottles of a salon shampoo and conditioner. It was wonderful. She knew I was a reader and left three books on the bedside table of the guest room in case I wanted to read before bed. It was so thoughtful.

  21. I have always felt such wonderful hospitality at my grandmother’s house. I was lucky enough to be able to spend summers with my grandparent’s while my parents worked when I was out of school. They took me out to breakfast frequently, my grandfather let me help in his hugh garden, and my grandmother let me help her in the kitchen. I learned a lot from those summers with my wonderful grandparents. I am so lucky to have had this opportunity and miss them dearly.

  22. Years ago, my husband and I, along with our four young sons were traveling from Tennessee to our home in Virginia. It was usually a 10-12 hour long trip, but this particular time it was taking even longer. It became apparent that we were not going to make this trip in one day. We were going to have to find a very cheap hotel or sleep in the car. We were traveling through Henderson, NC and remembered that an older couple from our congregation had moved to Henderson recently. Should we call them? We did have 4 small children! Well, what would it hurt? They assured us it would be no problem and welcomed our visit. We soon arrived to their immaculate home. The dining room table was set, the beds made, and fresh towels were lying in the bathrooms. Thinking we were imposing, I began apologizing, thinking she was preparing for company. The gracious host assured us that we were the company for which they had been waiting! It was a visit I will not ever forget.

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