There is nothing like the buzz around the table when the food gets set, the guests sit down and the conversation begins. Today’s guest is Sandy from Reluctant Entertainer.  She believes hospitality is not something that is hard or mysterious, but an act, even with the simplest of gestures, that can make someone feel at home.  She is introducing you to our TABLE a place for conversation to happen and stories to be exchanged. We hope you’re getting comfortable here.  We want you to feel at home. Kick off your shoes and join in the conversation.

Sandy brought a gift with her today to give to one of our guests.  It is a copy of her signed book, The Reluctant Entertainer.  To enter to win*, answer Sandy’s question and either join our COMMUNITY at BlogFrog or follow us on Facebook. (Please let us know which you did.)

I’m so honored to be a part of the LoveFeast Table Journey here today, and the brand new launch of Chris Ann and Kristin’s site.  I’ve always admired these ladies; their passions and inspiration to so many. Cheers to a new chapter, and thank you, Ladies, for letting me be a part of this journey today!

When I entertain, I rely on the abilities of my friends and family.

Like when my family comes to dinner … life just happens.

I’m blessed with a musical family, so someone is always tickling the ivories. Or we may resort to one of our kids’ favorite play lists, or turn on Pandora. Our daughter will occasionally play the violin for our guests, if we get lucky, and sometimes our sons will play background piano music.

Twenty years ago, when my husband and I started to entertain in our home, I wanted to do it all. Not just live, family entertainment, but I’d also run myself ragged trying to cook a full course meal, clean the house, set the perfect table … honestly, I really wanted to “look the part.” I so wanted my kids to behave and for people to look to “me” as a great hostess.
And then life happened and I grew up. As my husband and I started having kids, I started maturing (let’s face it, we’re not as mature as we think when we’re 28!), and I finally realized that entertaining was not about me at all.

Entertaining was about “them.” The people around my table … getting to know more about their lives, their struggles and their victories.

And then I saw how blessed I was, with creative family and friends who could cook and contribute to a meal, bring drinks, or even stop by the store if needed, and I started taking advantage of this. Why should I have to do it all?

Now that I’m a seasoned hostess, I’ve learned that hosting a dinner party means creating community.

It’s when my guests come with a dish, or my family comes with a song, or our gardening friends bring fresh flowers from their yard. It’s when a hostess gift is left on the counter for me, a little sign of “thanks” or a treat, which is often a sign of love. It’s when each person comes with their story. And it all begins the moment our front door is opened …

A dinner party happens when we bring all of these elements to the table and we create what we call “community.” It’s when we share the common life together, our pains and joys.

Through food and connection we become better and stronger and more courageous people.

Entertaining is not about me. It is definitely about them.

And my life is much richer now that I’ve learned this entertaining secret.

What entertaining secrets have you learned over the years?

Sandy Coughlin is a wife and mom of three teenagers, and is the voice behind Reluctant Entertainer, a hospitality blog   dedicated to helping people in search of a lifestyle that says, “I can do this!”. Her book, The Reluctant Entertainer, was recently published and is in bookstores now.

*This GiveAway is open until midnight Friday, August 29 and to US residents only.  This Contest is Now Closed.