To some people, entertainment comes easy. They invite people over for dinner and it is no sweat. They put on a perfect meal, food tastes delicious, company is fantastic, everyone has a great time and it is effortless. My brother and his wife are like that. They might eat later than the time they said they would, but everyone is having such a great time they don't care. They are gracious hosts and delicious cooks. My mother-in-law was like that too. She would put on delicious feasts for about anyone and everyone for any type of occasion. When she worked as a teacher, it was not unusual for her to put on a luncheon for someone's birthday, retirement or some special holiday and bring everything, fine china, serving dishes, etc. It came natural to her. It comes natural to my brother and his wife.
I didn't get that gene. It comes as a struggle to me. I fret about menus, what to serve, what not to serve. What goes well with this, what doesn't. How to set the table, etc. I make double the amount of food I think will be consumed because I don't want to run out of food and someone leave the table hungry. Needless to say, we rarely entertain.
So imagine my surprise when I saw that our church needed people to help out with hospitality and I had an interest to help out with it. Our church has two services currently and between the first and second service as well as after the second service is hospitality time where people can stick around and talk and nibble on this or that goodie. They were looking to add to the team that helped provide the goodies. Although this was totally out of my comfort zone, it did seem interesting to do and I figured if they needed the help and I wanted to serve at church, it would be a good place to get my feet wet.
The premise is each Sunday a team of three bring food to serve during hospitality time. Simple hand foods, pastries, fruit, cheese, crackers, etc. One sets up for first service, two help out between the services and two are there after second service to clean up. Coffee is made, along with having juice or another beverage available, even if it is just bottled water. The premise was also if you got enough volunteers, you would only have to serve no more than one time a month, hopefully every six weeks. You would be reimbursed for items brought or you could take it out of your tithe for the week or just buy the food as an offering to church.
I thought, why not. I'll try it. Signed up, got put on a team with two wonderful awesome women. One was like me, so totally out of her comfort zone but it was something she wanted to stretch to do. Another was willing to help set up for first service and was faithful bringing donut holes on each of our commited Sundays.
The first time we served was the weekend after Thanksgiving last year. I worried and I fretted over what to bring, finally decided on mini bagels and cream cheese, bananas and grapes; one brought donut holes, the other lady more fruit, cheese and crackers. It went well, though that night before I worried that we would not have enough food and hardly slept, tossing and turning wondering if I should stop and get more food on my way to church. I did. We didn't need it. We had more than enough.
Each time we did it, about every five weeks, we got better with it. Expanded what we put out. Dips for fruit, caramel for apples, more varieties of fruits, etc. We got really creative. We had the Sunday of Super Bowl; we made a theme as if we were watching the game, chips and dip, pretzels, cheese, crackers, pepperoni and so much more.
We high 5 each other after a successful time. We're getting pretty good at this.
Add to this hubby's and my desire to help provide meals if anyone needs them from church, like for a new baby, someone sick, etc. We've gotten down a signature dish we bring every time it is needed. Add to that our semi monthly potlucks for our small group at church; we try new recipes at home and say "this could work for community group". We got a bank of recipes available for months ahead.
We're getting this entertaining down.
I'm almost, just almost, ready to host a dinner party here and not fret too much about it.
It is good to challenge one self and try to do something out of their comfort zone.
You guys are all invited when I do host a party here, watch for your invitations :)
(wouldn't that be fun? To all get together for a potluck?)
That surely would be a hospitable time!