“Maybe the art of conversation isn’t lost after all. We just need more practice at it.”
– Kristin Schell
How often do you have other people into your home?
And if it’s not as much as you think you “should,” do you feel guilty about it?
I don’t have people over as often as I once did. So I wasn’t sure I wanted to read yet another book on hospitality.
But this one is different.
- It’s not about how to set your table (although it centers around a table).
- It’s not about your menu (although the book gives a simple recipe in every chapter).
- It’s not even about your guest list (because you never know who will show up).
The Turquoise Table is a book about opening your heart and your time as well as your space.
Specifically, open the space in your front yard. Because our front yards are what people see first, author Kristin Schell suggests we start there.
But it’s less about the where and more about the who.
Kristin started by painting her picnic table a turquoise color then placing it in her front yard. She filled a basket with plastic cups, a water pitcher, and leftover napkins from a birthday party.
Then she sat outside for thirty minutes reading the mail, writing a note, etc., until one by one a neighbor or two or three would stop by.
“We’re drawn to each other and our stories and through that, experience oneness. It’s how community is built: layer by layer, struggle by struggle, story by story. It’s why we come to the table, and these women and I were doing it. And I didn’t even have to clean the house.”
And this ministry grew and grew. Now there are Turquoise Tables in nearly every state and several different countries.
She says anybody can do it. Maybe not exactly like she did. (I can’t put a picnic table in my front yard.)
“Hospitality begins in the heart, not the oven.”
But we can each be hospitable in our own ways. It’s not about having a clean house and gourmet food; it’s about conversation and connections.
“We’ve got to debunk the myth that hospitality is the same as entertainment. Genuine hospitality begins with opening our lives. It’s just as important to open up our lives as it is our homes, and sharing who we are is far more important than sharing what we bake.”
Look at the lessons Kristen learned from her Front Yard People adventure. See which principles you could convert into reality in your own lifestyle.
- Don’t wait for the perfect time; do it now.
- Spontaneous gatherings are just as important as planned ones (and easier!).
- You don’t need anyone’s permission to go outside and love.
- Do it with a buddy to make it easier and more fun.
- Be patient; it takes time to develop community.
- Pray for the ministry of presence every day.
The book also includes suggestions for starting a Turquoise Table in other places, such as a community garden, a church courtyard, common areas at an office complex, or a neighborhood bus stop.
But Kristen always brings us back to this:
“While there is no one-size-fits-all formula for life at the Turquoise Table, in my experience, there is a pattern: Notice the needs of others. Pray. Show up. Love. Notice. Pray. Show up. Love.”
More Quotes from The Turquoise Table
“Sometimes we are the guest and sometimes we are the host. It’s not either/or. It’s both/and.”
~ * ~
“I realized God was saying, ‘It matters to Me. When you show up, I’m at work.’ Hospitality always feels small when you hold it in your hands. It’s not until you let it go, released like an offering, that you see how extravagant and hallowed it is.”
~ * ~
“Don’t be afraid of silence. My neighbor Nicole loves to use the phrase ‘tell me more.’ It gives permission for people to go beyond polite conversation and share deeper.”
~ * ~
“Out of love and out of grace, God gave me a table. We know when He gives a gift, it’s meant to be shared. Once I was excluded, and now I belong. That’s what I want to give others.”
~ * ~
“Hospitality takes the posture of humility, no longer seeking to impress but to serve. The heart of hospitality is to make people feel welcome and at ease.”
* * *
How are you at hospitality? Got it down, or do you have room to grow? Please share in the comments.
Read more about starting your own Turquoise Table at KristinSchell.com.
Thanks to BookLook Bloggers
for the review copy of this book
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