Friday, October 15, 2010

Year of Hospitality

Last Saturday was the beginning of a new year for me, my 32nd (or is it my 33rd? Yes, I suppose it is.) and with it the beginning of a new intention. This year is to be my Year of Hospitality.

I've been praying and meditating on this theme for a month or so now. It's a departure from my usual pattern, which is to choose a virtue I struggle with and spend a year cultivating it. Hospitality is actually something of a spiritual gift for me, but it's something I feel called to make better use of. This year, instead of just focusing on personal growth I am embarking on a larger project, to sow the seeds of hospitality in my home and community and watch it grow.

I've settled on a four part plan for this year, each part of which I will elaborate on further in future posts.

1. Create a sense of sanctuary for my family. This includes myself. In order to have something to give to the world, we first need a space where we can be renewed and uplifted. I'm not naive enough to think that with three adults, three kids and another baby on the way I'm going to create some kind of quiet, contemplative environment where we can all meditate on the mysteries of life. Four kids under seven years old and under is nothing if not a recipe for a busy house. What I do want is a space that feeds us, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

2. Invite others into that space. I want this to be a place where friends and family, especially the kids' friends, feel welcome and comfortable. As a friend pointed out to me, all kids really need a neighborhood of moms and dads. That is something I grew up with and the benefits of it have been huge in my life. I want to pay that forward.

3. Spread that sense of "home" into the larger community. I talked last winter about my plans for strengthening my community and since then a lot of progress has been made. I think as this process unfolds some really amazing things are going to happen.

4. Expanding that neighborhood good will and kindness to the world at large. Maybe we can "adopt" soldiers to send care packages to, or raise money to build wells in third world countries. I want my family and community to see everyone on earth as "neighbors". In this digital age, that is more true than ever before.

I have an excellent feeling about the coming year.


  1. Happy Birthday Stella! You are always such an inspiration. I pray these blessings come right back to you.

  2. What a gorgeous thing--to cultivate this in your life! Happy birthday to you and good luck as you open your hearth and home and heart to the world!

  3. Yay, Stephanie!!!!! I am so happy to see you blogging again and can't wait to see more of your upcoming adventures in hospitality. Happy Birthday!! xoxo

  4. Which recipe? lol!

    The Knoepfle soup is at the end of this post:

    And the Potato Soup is super easy and one of my autumn favs (from Ellen Thomas at SLN) Saute onion, celery and garlic in a bit of oil. Add salt, diced potatoes, 6-8 C veg or chicken broth and simmer 30 min. Add a shredded carrot, curry pwdr, dried basil. Simmer another 30 min. YUMMY!

  5. What a beautiful thought, and one I'd like to try myself. I have been enjoying inviting my neighbors over for dinner more (two kids and one on the way), and want to continue to do so, maybe even expand to others.

    I also in August decided to try an experiment. I would donate a lot more to charity. Any legit charity that sends me a letter gets $10. I had planned on doing it for a month, but have continued through the end of the year. Amazing how it makes me feel!

  6. Thanks everyone! And thanks for the recipes Jess! It's definitely soup weather this week.

    Marcia, I love your idea of giving $10 to any legit charity that sends you a letter. That is so cool!