Posts tagged "hospitality"

Storied Dishes

After we got engaged I couldn't wait to finally get to choose an everyday china pattern and register for gifts. (How in the world was that almost 30 years ago?) I didn't need to choose fine china; I had inherited my mother's Malden by Oxford, simple, rimmed in gold, and stunning. I'm one of those who believes kitchen art begins with pretty dishes. A spectacularly set table doesn't necessarily have to...

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Sunlight, Shadows, and a Supper Club

When I was younger, I was sure that loneliness was both inevitable and temporary. It was simply the price one paid for moving to a faraway city or taking a new job or joining a different church. Loneliness was a straightforward ailment easily cured in time. Now that I am older, I understand loneliness not as a sickness but a shadow. The sun shines brightly here in the land of...

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In the Habit of Hospitality

I am allergic to goals and averse to resolutions. I love to dream, but I prefer my dreams in rosy shades of vague. Details and action plans make me tired. Oh, January. Oh, month of optimism and ambition. I love you. But I do not trust you. * Or, perhaps, I do not trust myself. For though I am no setter of goals, I, too, long to turn over that...

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Invisible Hospitality And An End-of-Summer Cake

Ten years ago, she confessed to me that hospitality wasn’t for her. The tasks that brought me life brought her only unbearable stress. She sloughed off a burden of expectation that wasn’t hers to bear. She said no to hosting friends for dinner and said yes to so many other good things. * Today, that same friend is mom to a houseful of kids. They arrived through birth and adoption...

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Practicing Spontaneous Hospitality

My plan was to run into and out of Goodwill. I was searching for mid-century barware. The thought of finding it as a gift for my husband had my hunter-gatherer adrenaline rushing. As I stepped out of my car, a woman approached me from behind. After I recovered from being startled, I realized she wanted to note that she and I were driving the same model, year and color Subaru....

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What Hospitality Looks Like in a Castle

As a writer, I abhor a cliché, and I am no fan of idioms and proverbs. I prefer my words fresh and perhaps a little startling. I like words that wake us up and rattle our usual ways of thinking and seeing. We say if these walls could talk, but what if the creaky floorboards have more important things to declare? We say a man’s home is his castle, but...

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Desire And Longing

The story I want to tell you is not mine to write and yet, to write my story is to write hers. We're knit together, she and I, not by blood or by marriage but by Jesus who makes families from nothing but willing hearts. My family is stretching and all the stretching is painful. Placing one twin bed with one beloved quilt at the end of a noisy hall...

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The Greatest Of These Is Love

Death, taxes and, well, the laundry - three unavoidable and predictable parts of life. A few years ago my family carved out a new life in a little village, in a very old house. Our hundred year old plus home, nestled in the historic district of a small shrimping village was built in 1908. Mersea’s original owner, its only owner before us, died in the home’s parlor at the glorious...

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Tea and Toast: Why We Love to Read About Food

Some of my favorite memories of life around the table involve foods I’ve never eaten and gatherings I’ve never attended. Only murmur the words sardines on toast, and I will sigh with pleasure. I have never tasted that precise combination, but many times I have sat by the fire with Lucy and Mr. Tumnus, warming my hands with a teacup and listening to the sleepy singing of his flute. I...

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The Problem With Chasing Perfection

Almost every night, I sit my daughter in her high chair with its food stained cover. She giggles and picks over her food as my husband and I sit on either side of her in soft but worn suede chairs. They're chairs marked by years of cat climbs, cat scratches, and dinners in a home other than my own. The table we gather around has a similar story; it, too,...

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