Welcome to Articles Club, an online reading community focused on unearthing the art of eating and creating a home. It’s hosted by Andrea DeVries and Abigail Murrish who take turns sharing pertinent articles on their blogs every Monday and asking questions to spur lively and kind conversation. To learn more about Articles Club and the folks behind it, click here and here.

This week's article for Article Club comes from Darling Magazine, a somewhat recent find for me. It began as an online magazine and now has a print version available as well. It's a beautiful publication. Today's article itself, titled Embracing Our Inner Imperfect Hostess, really struck a chord with me, as a recently married woman. I've long considered myself to be fairly easy-going, but after we got married and started having people over, I noticed I became highly critical and nit-picky about our home. Everything had to be just so and if it wasn't, then I would make a self-depreciating comment about the space or the seating.

I was appalled when I caught myself doing this. It's contradictory to my heart for people and hosting them in our space. As followers of Jesus, showing love and hospitality isn't really about us anyway. 

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace [...] whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 4:8-11

The article mentions pitfalls, but also helpful tips for letting go of entertaining-induced anxiety. I included the first few paragraphs of the article below, and the rest can be found at the link below. Take a look at the article and the discussion questions; we'd love for you to join in the conversation in the comments section! (the comment section on my blog is accessible by clicking the title of this post).

Speaking of imperfect hosting, this is a photo from a casual taco night with close friends.


Embracing Our Inner Imperfect Hostess - Ashlee Gadd

I never realized that I was a clean freak until I had a baby.

A clean house was the first thing to go once our son was born, right after long showers and seven consecutive hours of sleep each night. Somewhere in the midst of sleep deprivation and projectile vomiting (the baby, not me), I stopped caring about beautifully made beds and perfectly polished sink faucets.

It was a slow process, that releasing of cleanliness and order. I started making the bed a few times a week instead of every day, and sometimes I even went to sleep with dishes in the sink. I allowed dust to collect on the shelves in our bedroom and laundry to pile high on top of the washing machine.

Gradually, little by little and day by day, I let go of something else.

Our house became more lived in, more relatable, more us. There were signs of life everywhere—from burp cloths on the coffee table to sleep training books carelessly tossed aside on the couch. The kitchen counter was often covered in a mixture of toast crumbs and droplets of pureed banana, sticky remnants that had fallen off the spoon during transition from blender to baby bowl.

People lived in our house—and for the first time—it appeared that way. There were marks of three lives in every single room: momma, daddy, and baby.

I started to embrace it, that letting go of cleanliness and order. I felt freedom in not washing a dish three seconds after I finished using it. I found liberty in smudge marks on the mirror and lint on top of the dresser.

Finish the article


Discussion Questions

1. How can we encourage one another in this "embracing of the imperfect" in our own homes/hosting?

2. How have your perceptions of good hosting changed over time?

3. What's your definition of a satisfying get-together? 

4. How do you strike a balance in your home between neat for company and perfection? 

5. The author mentions 4 practical tips at the end of the article. Which of these resonates with you most?