The secret to true hospitality
Monday, December 9, 2013 by {darlene}

Last week my family took a much needed vacation. We ended up with some surprise vacation time toward the end of the year, due to the generosity of my husband’s employer who allowed him to use his personal days – instead of vacation days – for the time he took off to be with newborn Georgia Luisa. So we headed South…

and stayed in one of my favorite places of all time. The Cottage at Plott Creek.

I have shared this place with you before, and I am telling you: A place this special just doesn’t get old. That view! And with such basic necessities pared down to ‘just what you need and no more,’ it makes me want to come home and toss half of my redundant belongings. Do my three children really need 43 plastic dishes? No. no, they don’t.

Our get-away was much needed. Remember when I shared these thoughts with you, about the “family mobile” getting off-balance when a new family member joins the scene… so true, right? Well, this week, we found our *new* balance again. We had a no-screen policy, and we simply frolicked in the woods. We reconnected at the core. We had the space to truly listen to, and HEAR each other. We had no cell service. No house errands. Just space. And it was healing.

secret to true hospitality Fieldstone Hill Design secret to true hospitality Fieldstone Hill Design secret to true hospitality Fieldstone Hill Design

I also got another treat: Some tank-filling time with friends.

It was brief, but Oh So Good. And I learned so much from these friends, as I always do.

Good friends will do that. Teach your heart.

Here is a story of three friends who grow dearer to me with each day. Each one of them welcomed me into their home, and, through them, I am pretty sure that I learned the secret to true hospitality.

Secret to True Hospitality


secret to true hospitality Fieldstone Hill Design

Soft spoken and quick with the wit, Angela inspires me with every artistic decision she makes! I mean, truly. Just hang out on her instagram feed, and you will be joining in on one creative moment after the next.

This gorgeous woman is overflowing with talent. Someday, our grandkids are going to be reading about “the artist Angela,” and her ‘ribbon period,’ ‘bird period,’ ‘marble period,’ and ‘black and white period.’ But guess what else? This woman is the definition of beautiful humility and abundant generosity. During our visit, she gave of her belongings, her time, and even her energy {it is hard to find extra energy when you are in the middle-of-the-end of a whole-house reconstruction.}.

While at the cottage, our family soaked in the joy and art and nature of her “home away from home.”

secret to true hospitality Fieldstone Hill Design view from cottage secret to true hospitality Fieldstone Hill Design the cottage

The secret to true hospitality:

I learned from Angela that hospitality means generosity, creativity, and offering what you have to give – instead of keeping it all to yourself, all safe-like. Angela shows me that pure kindness means everything when it comes to hospitality.

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secret to true hospitality Fieldstone Hill Design

Myquillyn – the Nester, as she is known in blogland parts – wants to know your story, and she takes the time to listen. Her heart’s desire is to encourage another person, and she just doesn’t hide that under a rock – even though that would be safer. Encourage, she does.

Angela, Shannon, Georgia Lu and I hit the road {road trip!!!} and headed to the farm. THE farm.

It was charming, and it is the PERFECT place to raise a passel of boys. The American dream. But, raw. These family-Nesters are pioneers, as they aim to pour their heart and soul and sweat and resources and energy into this… this potential. There is something so beautiful about potential, true. But don’t be fooled. Potential is FRUSTRATING. I know… I live in a 180 year old house. Potential comes with leaks, and mice, and irritations, and plain old DISCOMFORT. And us human-types don’t particularly love discomfort.

If I hadn’t been juggling a baby, I would have pretty pictures of the farm, because it IS so so pretty. But in this-here blog post, I want to point out that Myquillyn had sawdust, and boxes, and power tools, and wind-drafts, and moving-dollys, and bare walls, and homeless furniture … but welcomed us ANYWAY. And when I say welcomed, I mean, she let us waltz in on her family life, and poured her undivided heart into our visit. She gave of her sweet self, and said again and again, “what can I do for you?”

secret to true hospitality secret to true hospitality Fieldstone Hill Design Nester props

The secret to true hospitality:

From Myquillyn, I learned that fully and attentively saying ‘yes’ to company, even when you have just moved in, is truly possible and good. I have learned over and again, as so many of us have in so many ways from this Nester friend, that it truly does NOT have to be perfect to be beautiful… and yet, somehow, that makes it perfect.

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secret to true hospitality

Edie! I would need to share an entire post {fingers crossed! so hard these days.} to share all of the hospitality splendor that met us at Edie’s home and with Edie’s family.

On our drive home from the NC mountains, we ‘swung’ by Bean Station for breakfast at Edie’s. Friends… this was the FIRST time I got to see with my own eyes the gorgeous spaces that Edie and I worked on together; the first time I got to be in Edie’s home! Words fail.

There was joyous hugging at the door, a blazing fire, and even grapefruits with our names on them. Let me just say, that I could not even go to the bathroom without taking my camera with me and instagramming from the toilet. True story. Many of you all know this already, but Edie is SO gifted. Sooooo gifted in the fine art of making a house a home. And SO full of life and welcoming and Lil’ Miss Yummy Food and COLOR GALORE! Delights for the senses were LITERALLY around every corner. This girl KNOWS how to “do home.”

I wrote before about Edie and her gift for hospitality. Well, now that I have actually had the joy of breaking bread with her and her beautiful family… of resting in her home…. and I can tell you that we all have MUCH to learn from this woman about hospitality!

secret to true hospitality FHD grapefruits at Edies secret to true hospitality

The secret to true hospitality:

From Edie, I learned that it feels glorious to give with BIG love … go big or go home! I learned that minimalism can be overrated when it comes to making a guest feel welcome. And I learned that “Oh, honey, SIT DOWN,” can be the sweetest balm to a guests soul. From Edie, I am slowly learning to have a laser focus on my guests, just showering them with this down-home love called Grace.

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There is nothing better than learning a secret from a true friend. The good kind of secret.

So, what is the secret to true hospitality?


Give your presence.

Give your attentiveness.

Give of your time and your gifts,

and Give with a generous portion of YOU on top.







From our family to yours! A Christmas card! {and our baby announcements too}. And here’s a little discount for you, click on the image below to head over to Minted for 15% off and free shipping on Holiday cards.

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Labeled: beautiful thoughts, Living with Beauty: Within


  • So, in summary, hospitality can be summarized: love!

    Good to know, in my suburban house with a little kitchen, wall to wall carpet, and 90’s builder fixtures, that LOVE makes a house into a welcoming home. We don’t have the tim, and my husband doesn’t want to spend the money on decorating it, so I’ve come to the conclusion that just loving with what we have, bare walls, metal blinds, and all is precisely what The Lord has given us to use to love others.

  • This post choked me up. How beautiful, different hostesses, unique approaches, same love. What a fantastic lesson for us as the holidays build steam. Love to you Darlene, thank you for sharing. (now visit Oklahoma!! haha)

  • oh darlene. thank you.

    since you three girls left i’ve meant to write an email of apology. i felt so distracted while you were here, not in a specific way but in an overall way–this has been SUCH a distracting year for me and i fear that it shows through. thank you for your graciousness of sitting on unwashed slipcovers, talking over a raw, fresh caught duck being cut on the counter top and risotto being cooked on the stove while hungry boys wander through. that is true friendship.

    • said in my best low-country voice:

      my life is nothing but distractions these days, and constant interruptions. It was so good for me to be reminded that we can welcome friends INTO our chaos of good-but-messy-life.

      LOVE YOU, Miss Hospitality!

  • What a fun post and dream vacation! I love that you got to see in person the homes that we all visit everyday in blogland … and to personally call them friends. How awesome is that?

  • maybe some day you can welcome me into lovely fieldstone hill. I’m sure we’d be fast friends :) Lovely post

  • Oh I love this post and these three women you shared about! It’s hard to welcome people when you home is torn up with toddler toys, breakfast dishes in the sink and loads of laundry waiting to be folded. We are so busy but this reminded how important friendships truly are. I couldn’t get through my week without them!

    Also, this makes me want to feast at Edie’s too! I am always salivating over what she is cooking up!!!


  • I have always been taught that true hospitality is making someone feel as if they have never left their home. I have found this to be a hard task but I strive for it when I have people to my place.

  • […] inviting 2. practical and useful 3. hospitality focused, and 4. offer an excellent opportunity to add some glam details to our […]

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