Nicole Gilmore is a dear friend of mine, and my does she have great insight on hospitality and opening your home, no matter how simple or small! She is an artist, activist, and businesswoman. Nicole is married with two children ( who are artists too!) and just oozes creativity and beauty in everything that comes from her. She has a knack for pulling the talents out of her friends and then connecting them to others who share an interest or passion point. She creates relational connections that in turn shape history. I’m not kidding. And she does it over coffee, or Paleo Waffles, or in the thrift store finding a bargain! This is the first of a 3 part series on ‘Hosting in a Small Space’. Enjoy!
the author Nicole, with her husband Jon.
Opening your Small Home in a Big Way
by Nicole Gilmore
“Every challenge is a new opportunity to be creative.” nicole gilmore
“How will we ever have 14 people over Christmas Eve here?” asked Jake my teenage son, giving voice to my own reservations.
“We’ll figure it out! Every challenge is a new opportunity to be creative!” I said, hoping that I just made up a profound new quote. Currently, we are preparing for our first Christmas in our new 1300 sq ft townhome. It is half the size of our former space, which I loved hosting in. Thankfully my hospitable spirit didn’t shrink with the move. So we’re figuring it out! I decided in that moment that for bigger gatherings we needed bigger thinking. I wanted my kids to understand that our space is limited, not prohibitive, especially when creative.
I am honored to be sharing with Community Eats readers about big hospitality in a very small space. Coincidently, if you have a similar situation, then squeeze in to my learning curve. Together we’ll be freed up to open our doors wide. I am sharing my heart in three installments over three postings. Today we explore Thoughts From the Good Book and Perspective Changers. Soon to follow are Stories: What I’ve Learned about Hosting Big and Small and later, Tips and Tricks a list of practical ways to make more room in your home.
Thoughts from the Good Book and Perspective Changers
Practice hospitality. Wow! Even the Good Book has something to say about it. One version reads: “be eager to practice hospitality.” Embrace the freedom of practicing and don’t treat gatherings and dinners as “a big event”. The Good Book doesn’t mention anything about square footage, so we are free from dreaming up that mega mansion that we can really have people over in.
Get more perspective, not inspiration. Instead of flipping through magazines grab your dictionary. Hosting=Receiving! Hospitality is not the same as entertaining. Look up the difference. It’s incredibly freeing! Read Beth’s post on “having people over and being relaxed about it.” It sweetly encouraged me not to take it all so serious.
We are overloaded with inspiration. Often what we are inspired by is more stifling than energizing or motivating. Picture perfect homes are JUST THAT: pictures! That is why we love blogs, Pinterest, websites and magazines. However, “inspiring”, “dazzling”, “captivating” are not words the Good Book uses to instruct us on the topic, not even the word “ big” is used. In fact, bigger is not better. Dreaming of a bigger space to finally gather people or entertain in is robbing you of the joyful memories and deep connections you can be enjoying now. “Practice hospitality” is how it is penned and it can be done in a tent, trailer, studio, park, etc.
The home that teenager’s friends can raid the refrigerator, the messy house where a mom can plop down enjoy tea with a friend without fussing over tidiness, the sofa bed that’s open for a friend in crisis, the home where extended family is welcome to stay for extended time, the home where drop-ins are welcome even without a warning call–these are the homes of who I consider the Hospitality Hall of Famers and you don’t see them on Pinterest, Sunset Magazine, etc. Inspirations from magazines can be helpful, I just am learning to store them as “pretty pictures” and not as my standard for opening up my home. The highest of highest of highest standards need only be to practice hospitality!
So let’s link arms and fill our little spaces with practicing while relaxing, embracing people and making memories. Simplifying our standard and expanding our hearts does no require any extra space!