a bench with a view

a bench with a view

Monday, April 9, 2012


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!


Jeanie said...

I used to be a lot more comfortable entertaining people in my home than I am now. I really admire you for stepping out of your comfort zone in your church activity and love hearing that it has been so successful for you.

Lynn Proctor said...

i am so glad you have stepped out of your comfort zone, especially since it sounds like you have a real heart for hospitality---would love to come to your dinner party! great post!

Shelly said...

NOt only did you stretch yourself out of your comfort zone, it sounds like you are having great fun doing it. That's the best part.

And yes, I'll be looking for the invite to the potluck!

Renegades said...

Good for you going outside your comfort zone.

I like to host barbeques, but I tend to fret about food right up until serving.

Kathy ... aka Nana said...

Just give me a little advance notice so I can get there from Illinois! ;-)

It's interesting to read about your stepping out of your comfort zone. God's been calling me to do some of that ... it's encouraging to me to read about others who've done that and find success and joy.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I love your H word. Hospitality is something our world needs more of for sure. To make someone feel welcome and comfortable takes some special effort. Glad you found your niche there. From all the recipes I've seen floating around on the blogs, we would truly have a great potluck dinner. Hope your Monday is a wonderful one!

jack69 said...

Awww Betty, this sounds so much like the 'YOU' I see. Wanting what ever you do to be perfect. Worrying about having enough. Isn't it funny, being concerned about having enough, usually brings about the having more than enough. But it is lovely in the end.

The church sounds great and I love the 'fellowship', I just cannot take part anymore and I miss it.

Loved this entry lady on the other coast.

jack69 said...

I meant to say, you sound like my sis Shirl. She is a born volunteer, then frets about having enough, BUT it always works out.

LOve ya!

Nel said...

I think we need to all step out of our comfort zone more than we do. Great post!
until next time...nel

Judy said...

I worry too. I'm not a good cook, to begin with. And I'm not a good organizer. But I do like to help. So, I worry and worry and stress . . . and it usually always turns out just fine!


WHAT a wonderful idea. You ladies have got the situation under control and are doing your good upon the earth. Hospitality helpers indeed. Continued success. Stepping outside your comfort zone is a BIG step, for sure. I'm learning to do it more and more, myself. Take care.

Martha said...

I think that's a great way to get you feet wet and of course it's a fun way to give to the church too!
I love to cook but I get myself too worried and worked up to entertain much at home. I feel like my home has to be perfect, the food has to be perfect and like you I always have so much more than I need.
I do always jump at the chance to volunteer with cooking, serving, etc. It's always a lot of fun!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Well I am so proud of you. You took on something that you were not sure about doing and have come out smelling like a rose. Way to go!

Chatty Crone said...

I admire you! I really really do. You sure did stretch out of your comfort zone.

I have to tell you this - I would be out of mine too - I could do it if I forced myself but I don't think I will.

Good for you.


JosephAlsarraf said...

Lol! Sounds like our house, everyone gets together at the last minute and cooks too much. It's always a big mess we never have anybody over.

Sure I would love to try out some potluck! My mom was telling me a funny story about when she was trying to cook some crabs. She filled the pot with cold water, put the crabs in and put the lid on. A couple seconds later the crabs start climbing out of the pot! Lol! : )

Linda B. said...

The challenges of the "comfort zone!" Just as you've experienced, often wonderful outcomes when that step is taken. What should the "B's" bring?

Intense Guy said...

"Pot luck" is a great way to go - it eases the pressure and ensures there will be enough.

I would enjoy a dinner with this group of folks! I'll bring some orange and white (Creamsicle) cones...

Toriz said...

Well done you! :)

Yes, it would be wonderful if we could all meet up for a potluck or something! :)

The Brown Recluse said...

We don't have anything like that at our church...but I don't know of any homeless people around here, either. We do have a huge feed the hungry program though.

I really stink at entertaining...I don't even like crowds, especially in my house!!! I'm like you...I drive myself crazy on Christmas Eve worrying that I didn't get enough of everything.

By the way, the menus you served sounds quite tasty.

Lynda said...

How much fun to have hospitality with snacks at church. I love that you talk about your emotions and growth through this. You definitely show through words that you left indecisiveness and insecurity to graduate to confidence and an expanded ministry!