The Welcoming and the Welcome Mat

In the world of pinterest, home decor blogs, and just plain Americanness, it's easy to get caught up in feeling like your home needs to be x, y, z and have a, b, and c to be beautiful or appealing to everyone that walks in the door.

At least I get caught up in that.

But something that always reminds me what beautiful looks like in a home is remembering the times that I've stepped into a home that oozed beauty and welcomeness.

I've definitely experienced that in many of my family and friends' gorgeous and welcoming homes here, but the most memorable times of welcomeness and beauty that I've experienced in a home was when I traveled abroad.

Even though most of their homes were much smaller than ours and didn't have all kinds of fancy amenities, they brought us in. It didn't matter that the walls were concrete or the floor was dirt or simple tile. It didn't matter that their laundry room was a washing sink outside.

My "grandma" in my host family in Guatemala showed me how to dip my pan dulce into the best coffee in the world (which I later learned was instant coffee with a lot of sugar!) and gave me the best pieces of the chicken. My host families (I had several different ones) joked with me and welcomed me not only into their home but their lives. I was given the best and always felt welcomed and loved. I felt comfortable and at home--even without all the modern amenities I was used to.

It didn't matter that my Spanish was clumsy and 1st-graderish. It didn't matter to them that their homes weren't magazine-worthy or as nice as so-and-so's. Beyond my host families homes, I was ushered into many people's homes that we visited. Many of those homes were lived in by families who were deep in poverty and struggled to feed their families. But I never even saw a flicker of embarrassment when they brought us in; instead, I saw joy and excitement.

It was more about the welcoming than the welcome mats.

I often wish that I worried less about the welcome mats and more about the welcoming. Do you too?

Questions of the day:
How do you practice hospitality without fearing that your home/meal/invitation isn't good enough? What tips would you share with someone who wants to grow in welcoming and inviting people to their home (that's me!)? Do you ever worry about the welcome mats more than the welcoming?

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