There have been some great posts recently over at Girltalk on hospitality. I love encouragement in this area; it can be a struggle for me to be intentional about this in the midst of homeschooling and running a home! One thing Julie says is this:
A simple meal served by a relaxed hostess is preferable to an elaborate meal with a worried and anxious hostess.How true! We've had such fun times with friends when the menu was grilled burgers and chips and store-bought potato salad! And I experienced something once that was very instructional to me.
Years ago I went to a women's gathering hosted by a lady from church. I didn't know her very well, and to be honest, don't remember her name. There were wonderful snacks and games and I think we even did a Christmas-themed craft. But what I remember most clearly was how worried this woman was about her carpet getting messed up! I just had the feeling that she was going to heave a great sigh of relief when she closed the door on the last guest. Needless to say, her attitude did not communicate love or warm hospitality! I have a tendency to be a neat and clean freak, and being on the receiving end of this attitude was a wake-up call for me.
Hope the link above is an encouragement to you, too!