Monday, April 4, 2016

On Hospitality & Dining Tables

I recently finished Jen Hatmaker's For the Love (slowly but surely chipping away at my 2016 reading list!) and it got me thinking a lot about hospitality. One of my favorite chapters was Supper Club (chapter 15). In it, Jen discusses community, friendship, good food, fellowship, and hospitality. And let me tell ya, I was more than just a teensy bit jealous as I read about the monthly supper club that the Hatmakers enjoy.

Here are Jen's rules for supper club (with her commentary, of course!):
  • One night a month, rotating houses.
  • No kids. (Since we have 16 children between us, SC starts at 8 p.m., and the host’s kids are already in bed or bribed with Cheetos and movies. The other parents get sitters, unless they are awesome like me and Melissa and have big kids to babysit, in which case, actual supervision is an incredibly loose concept.)
  • When you host, do everything: plan, shop, cook and clean. So three out of four months, just show up, drink wine, eat amazing food, laugh until you cry and leave your friend’s kitchen an absolute crime scene.
  • The food is serious. If you haven’t started planning your menu a week in advance, you are in the weeds. Don’t you dare put taco soup on the table.
  • All anyone can bring to SC is wine. And you’d better bring some or die trying.
  • SC is any night we make it work, which means we’ve seen 1 a.m. on a Tuesday and paid brutally. (After one such late night, we bemoaned our exhaustion in a group text the next day. [My husband,] Brandon, wrote, “We made the littles eat breakfast at school this morning. Hope the pancake on a stick with sugar syrup works out.”)
  • What happens at SC stays at SC. Failure to comply will result in flogging.
Anyways, I think supper club sounds like one of the best things ever. And so after reading the book I realized that even if we wanted to have supper club, we couldn't because we had a tall square table with 4 tall chairs... not super conducive to more than 4 people eating at it. 

Thus ensued the Great Table Search of 2016. And after looking high and low we found the perfect table that comfortably seats 8, would really easily seat 10, and you could even squeeze 12 around it. Much more conducive to supper clubs, large brunches, family meals, and dinner parties. 

Sometimes you just need to go ahead and get that thing that will help you reach that goal (like that one time when we got a new headboard so we could read in bed). No, getting a new dining table wasn't necessary for living. We had one that worked fine. But it didn't work fine for the goals and dreams we had of having big groups over for meals. It wasn't doing what we needed it to do. 

But now that we have this new spacious table, we get to have family over for Easter, and a few couples over for a Saturday brunch, and another group over for a Friday night dinner party. We get to host and open our home and practice hospitality and create warmth and safety (not that we couldn't before. Now we just get to do it to more people!). As Shauna Niequist puts it in her book, Bread and Wine, “The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. It's about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment.”

I don't know about you, but I want our home to be a place where people are seen and heard. Where they feel safe and loved and nourished. And yeah, a dining table doesn't do that. But it might just make that possible.


  1. I agree about using your new table and your home for great hospitality! Our big table has been used hundreds of times to serve others. Besides eating, we have played games, made ginger bread houses and dyed eggs; we read the newspaper/clip coupons, have Bible Studies and prayer time, serve tea parties and many other activities. May God bless you as you use your table to serve and enjoy others!

    1. I have lots of good memories around your big table! :)

  2. I love the mix/match of everything from chairs to placemats (and so glad I got to help look for some of it with you). You're teaching me to like thrifting a bit more!


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