It's very time consuming to make the
dumplings. But oh, are they good.
I don't bother making them anymore
unless I'm making enough to fill my
largest stock pot. Thankfully they are
very filling so we usually have enough for
each girl to have a small bowl for lunch
the next day.
Since we fill the dining room table
all by ourselves, we have to take the
drop leaf table from my bedroom, and
chairs and the piano bench from the
sunroom in order to sit anyone else
in the kitchen. I really prefer this to
having a bunch of tray tables set up
in the living room - but with a little
more company that would be necessary.
I have always enjoyed having company in my home, but I have not always been able to enjoy it quite as much as I do now. I have learned quite a bit about hospitality over the years. Because of certain family members, I had come to believe that the house had to be absolutely spotless before anyone could visit because, of course, they were going to nit-pick your housekeeping to death. Maybe not to your face (leave that to close family), but certainly once they got in the car the topic of their conversation would turn to whether or not your baseboards were dusted this week, or to the dirty hand prints you missed cleaning off the sliding glass door. Wouldn't it? I mean, I didn't talk to my husband about those things when I left someone's house, but then again, since I wasn't one of those compulsive cleaners, maybe I just didn't notice dust or smudges in other people's houses. Other people must see it though, so I made myself crazy anytime we invited someone to the house. Then the inevitable happend. After having several children it became impossible to have the house spotless when company was to come because invariably one of the children would get into something 2 min. before our company arrived, rendering it(in my opinion) unfit for company. Not that anyone said anything, but still, I felt it and at that time, that was all that mattered. We began to have company less and less frequently, until just about the only people who came over were family members from my mother's side of the family (no compulsive cleaners there, so I was fine with them).
Then, wouldn't you know it, just when I was okay with being tucked away, in my hopelessly imperfect home, with just my hubby, my kiddos, and the occasional "I don't care one whit what your house looks like" relative, my husband got saved and latched onto hospitality with both hands. (It's not like God didn't try to nudge me in that direction before - it's just that I was not willing to listen.) I managed okay for a little bit. We lived in a double wide that had a LOT of problems, but I could work around that, and the girls were a bit bigger, so it wasn't nearly as hard to clean up anyway. Alright, I'm fine now - right? I've listened to God and opened my home up to others, lesson learned. WAIT - there's more?? Oh, but yes. Shortly after we starting inviting others over again, we had a water leak that forced us to not only take up a huge section of the floor, but several walls had to come out as well. We had no idea the damage was that extensive, so we did not have the money for all the repairs (insurance did not cover it-grrrrr). We fixed what absolutely had to be fixed (we put the new sub-floor down, and put a wall around the bathroom again) and planned to work on the rest as we got the money, and available free labor from friends and family. But my husband still wanted to invite people over. Can you believe that? I couldn't. The house wasn't just "not clean" (we did clean it the best we could), but there were walls gone, and bare sub flooring, and sheets of drywall leaning up against other walls, and lumber in the den. And for a little while the chest freezer had to stay in the dining room. And he wanted to have company?? NOOOOOOO!!! But wait, I needed to honor his wishes as head of our home (gotta actually live that example for your girls). I have to admit that I did not just jump over that hurdle in my head all by myself. God helps us out in so many ways. The pastor's wife invited us over one afternoon so the girls could see the newest batch of chicks they had hatched out, and guess what? When I got there I saw that their house was also in a state of incomplete remodeling. Boxes of tile were stacked in the hall, ontop of the bare sub-floor. The walls had obviously been mudded recently and the kitchen was jumbled into a reasonably workable area while awaiting more work on the ceiling and cabinets. And she still invited us over. We had a great time. It was pretty easy to invite them to supper after that, but could I manage it for others? Well, I did. I still had to overcome
some a lot of that old anxeity, but it was really just pride. We ended up inviting a lot of people over, and everyone always had a good time, despite the odd layout they had to work around in the kitchen or dining room; regardless of the plain sub-flooring or the bare drywall. It never mattered one bit.
I have a very nice home now, and I'm incrediably thankful for it, but I have caught myself a time or two worrying about little things not being perfect when company's coming. I don't ever want to do that again. I don't want my house not being "perfect" to keep me from having someone over, and by that same token, I don't want to make my kids crazy and have them believe they have to have perfect houses in order to have company. For that reason, I deliberately refused to have anyone mop the floor before the pastor and his wife came yesterday. They weren't bad - they were swept, and we don't ususally mop until Saturday unless there's a spill or something. And guess what - we still had a good time. If they even looked at the floors I would be very surprised. There are people who will look for every little piece of dust, and will probably sneak a look past your shower curtain when they go to the bathroom, but we cannot let the pettiness of others keep us from obeying God's call to hospitality.