Hospitality. But Not The Kind You Are Thinking Of.


Lately I’ve been thinking about hospitality.

But not the kind where I’m hospitable to others…


For awhile (I’m looking at you 2013 and 2014) I’ve been doing and doing like a crazed person.

Sometimes that’s how life is for a season or so, but once you realize it, you get to make the decision to keep going in that direction or change things. Sometimes changing things means other people might misunderstand you. It’s still worth it.


Having people over to our home is the best thing Chad and I do together–one of our greatest joys in life, but even good things have their limits.

We were supposed to have new friends over for dinner last night. Yesterday at lunch we cancelled.

I’m not even sure what Chad told them. Maybe he told them I was sick? It wouldn’t be a lie, because in a way I am, but it’s not because I have a fever. It’s because I haven’t allowed my house to be hospitable towards me. He texted me that he cancelled, I read it and then I cried.

I cried because I really wanted to have them over and get to know them.

I cried because I was so glad he cancelled so now I could stay in my yoga pants and dirty hair.

I cried because I want to be a person who has the margin and clarity of thought to welcome new friends into our home and ask meaningful questions and then listen to their answers. Right now I am not that person.

It’s not fair for me to invite people into my home if I don’t have the room to listen.


If I don’t have room to listen that means I need to pay attention to myself and make a change.

If I can’t set a table graciously for myself, how can I set it for others?

If my home isn’t a place for me to rest, be, learn, hide and grow, then it will never be that place for others, no matter how passionate I am about it.


I’ve been a guest in a home when the people should have cancelled and it’s agonizing–for everyone. I wanted to call a time-out and explain that we all know that we have no business being in their house right now and that I’ll pack all the dinner prep in the refrigerator and clean up and that they should just go to bed. We’ll show ourselves out. No hard feelings.

I’m learning to let my house minister to me first, so that I can then minister to others.

I’m fooling no one if I try to pour out to someone else, when I have nothing to give.

And I’m wasting all our time if I try to fake it.

INTJs don’t fake things. It’s one of our strengths that get confused with being mean.


Maybe the thought of inviting people in sounds exhausting, not because you are a bad person but because you are a tired person.

best ever

We have permission to say no. We have permission to say nevermind, we have permission to choose to take care of ourselves first so that we can more fully give to others.

breathing room



  1. We’ve recently moved in a new house and my nesting instinct has kicked in. I’m obsessed with making it feel cozy and warm. I know it is supposed to be a place that gathers people together but all I want to do is hunker down and be alone. This post lets me think that there is an ebb and flow to hospitality that I hadn’t recognized before. I need to let this place minister to me and my family as to better prepare us to minister to others.

    I’ve discovered your blog at just the perfect time!

    • Meredith, that’s exactly what I’m learning too. As a lover of opening my home, it’s been a surprise to find that sometimes it’s good to say “not now, but later”. I hope you enjoy your new place!

  2. But then there’s the guest (family) that doesn’t wait for the invitation and TELLS you they are visiting for such and such dates and length of time. Kinda hard to weasel out of the in-laws. They came and left. Wouldn’t have been so bad except that we were/are smack dab in the middle of a house remodel and our house was an entire mess! Lesson learned by both parties. ;)

    • I believe that we can always choose to say no. Even if it’s hard. Even if it might offend.

      We can still love people and say no sometime. Even in-laws. Sometimes especially in-laws (although I think that’s a great time for the adult child of the parents in question to speak up and say the hard no). Ok, I’m getting carried away with my INTJ self….

      But at least it’s over, right? And remodeling?! So fun (once it’s done!!!) Happy Thanksgiving!

      • And sometimes you do say no, but hubby says yes, and you disagree and have a big fight. Inlaws come anyway, and stay with you and your 5 kids–including 4 month old–for a week, because hey–they’re retired and want to, and you home school so you’ll be home all day anyway! Oh…don’t forget! Cook Thanksgiving for 13 on Thursday! Sigh…

        • Mindy —

          Just. don’t. do. it. Don’t cook. Seriously. Put your foot down, the spatula, too. Make a reservation or at least a blank stare. But do. not. cook. Boundaries are good. And I’m telling you straight, homeschooling mama of five with a newborn and house guests – stand fast in your NO.


  3. We usually host Thanksgiving every year but this year I just don’t have it in me. Thank you for the reminder that it is ok to take this one day for myself so I can re-energize and be ready to host for Christmas.

  4. A big, fat, happy hallelujah to this post! Crawl into that comfy bed with your yummy coffee & let your soul rest & get restored!

  5. Nester, I so appreciate the phrase “we have permission to say nevermind” – My family has been through so much in the last couple of years, and sometimes life’s journey just takes a heavy toll on your health, energy, and state of well-being. I’ve just needed more alone time in the last several months than is typical, and I’ve felt guilty so much when I don’t show up at a shower at church or when I decide I can’t go to dinner with a group of friends. But I have just needed it so much – needed to stay home, wear pajamas, drink coffee, watch netflix, or work on my struggling business. It truly is a breath of fresh air to hear someone say “we have permission to say nevermind.” Thanks.

    • Rose. I have chills and tears while reading your comment. Kindred spirits.

      • I saw that on another comment you said you were surprised at the response to this blog post. Well, I was chatting with my best friend about this post a few minutes ago and I think part of the reason the response to this post is high is because of how complicated it is to live this out well. Scripture calls us to serve others, to put others first, and to bear one another’s burdens, but if we don’t take care of ourselves then we really are doing a disservice to ourselves and everyone around us! The really hard part is to know where that healthy middle ground is, how to balance caring for self and caring for others. So we feel guilty when we say no (because we should be caring for others) and we end up scattered, sick, or burned out when we say yes (because we aren’t caring for self) – it’s seriously complicated. And it gets more complicated when things arise that we really should just “suck it up and do it” whether we feel like it or not… The truth is, I don’t know a single person who has this figured out. So your words were soothing to anyone who wants to serve and take care of themselves. You spoke up about a very real issue for many women.

  6. I treat myself to Starbucks (hot chocolate) a day or two a week. That helps me stay happy while working and commuting everyday.

    I also love to get on the couch and snuggle with my little pom and read a book.

    Another thing I do is to snuggle with my 9 year old daughter. All of these things make me happy and a better person and host!

  7. It is okay to say no, or just to put the brakes on a little bit…I’ve always been that person who thought I needed to make the entire Thanksgiving meal, because each dish on the menu had to “work” together…What resulted was that I grew very tired and just decided to not do anything for a few years. This year, I’ve decided to host the festivities and provide the turkey and dressing, and maybe one side dish, but I’ve asked everyone to bring food. This way, maybe I can enjoy my meal and the cherished time with family members, too.
    Oh, and when I really need to escape life for a few hours and recharge my batteries, I go into my art studio where I have a coffee maker!!, a tv if I want to watch Dr. Phil, and lots of creative things to do. And, I usually spend the day there with messy bed hair and in my pajamas! It took me many years to figure out how to show myself the hospitality that I try to show my guests, and it sure is nice…better late than never, I guess.
    Congrats on figuring out that you need to take care of you!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. I totally get it! My husband I have the gift of hospitality and use it often. However, in real life there are seasons that I need “me time” first so I can minister to others later. I have found that unless my relationship with the Lord and my family is correct I will miss the whole point of having guest over and will not be effective in sharing true intentional Christian hospitality. My children are growing up and starting to leave home so I have evaluated what “me time” looks like in this season of life. I have found my “me time” in staring a blog, called Intentional Hospitality. Bogging becomes a quiet time, (well I try to make it that) and I also get to share and encourage others through our life’s journey of creating a relaxed lifestyle of hospitality in our homes with a focus on blessing all those who visit.

  9. I love this idea of having a spot in the house just for me, and to not feel guilty about it. And I’m so cold all the time too so I can totally relate to that! :) I think I may need a fancy coffee machine too…

  10. One I appreciated this post so much because you can’t tell its a sponsored post by the writing or level of attention that went into it. Thanks for not going through the motions even though it’s a “sponsored” post which so often get a bad rap.
    Secondly, thank you for your heart and your words and always being honest. It helps, it helps a lot of people. At the end of my last pregnancy I was struggling with pre-partum depression and it was taking all of my effort to show up and be present for my two year old daughter, I felt so guilty on canceling plans and not seeing friends… But my soul just didn’t have anything left to give. Thanks for expressing what happens to all of us so eloquently.

    • Bria, thank you. In some ways, because I have ads on this blog, every post is a sponsored post. But, I always hope to have encouraging take-aways even if the person reading is allergic to whatever product the company sponsoring asks me to mention.

      I’m still shocked at the response to this post, I honestly didn’t know this was something so many of us deal with and experience guilt about. I am not alone. That feels really nice.

  11. I love our nespresso coffee maker. And I have been using it more lately-to make myself a wonderful cup of decaf.
    Also, this is the first time I have EVER heard of a “husband” pillow. I guess I need to get out more.=)
    Rest well today!

  12. I have been there myself. I have entered into a season of rest of where I am learning to say no to others and yes to myself. For me, I was so busy that I didn’t take time for myself or for God. I was able to recognize this at the beginning of the year and had to take a break from our side business of refinishing furniture. It was challenging and painful. However, the break was much needed. During the past 6 months, God has revealed himself to me and I have realized that it is OK to say no and it is OK to rest in HIM. This has not only made me a better person, it has allowed me the time to minister and witness to others instead of living a life on fast forward. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Umm, why did this make me go all cry-face here in a hair salon? My soul just jabbed me – she wants a great cup of coffee in a cozy space right now! We hosted a gathering last night and I think I confess, I may have faked hospitality a bit – sorry to anyone reading who was there. Praying now for God to redeem my fake – and for next time – whenever that may be – to be from a free and rested me. Along these lines, I’m challenging the ladies from our local church to embrace a new holiday tradition this crazy busy season – White Monday. A day to pull away from the noisy of the season to welcome a quieted heart before the bustle really kicks in – My White Monday will include hot delicious coffee and something fleece-lined. Thanks again Nester!

  14. What perfect wisdom to hit my inbox this Friday before Thanksgiving. You are a treasure!

  15. I’m pretty sure I have the same personality type as you, and I’m often perceived as being cold, self-centered, or uncaring. I really appreciate you sharing these stories, letting me know that I’m not alone in it, and that its not a bad thing! As far as making time for myself, well, I am going to have to make some plans for that! xoxo

    • I was SO nervous to hit publish on this post. Worried I’m the only one who feels and thinks this way. Thank you, I’m so glad there are more of us!

  16. The book, Gifts by the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindenburg, speaks to the value of solitude. I’ve made Sunday afternoons my nap time since reading that book 20 years ago. It is in solitude that women nourish themselves in order to nourish others.

  17. Delurking to say that: 1. The only alternative I’ve heard to “husband” is “crotch pillow”, which is decidedly not a step in the right direction, and 2. INTJs unite! It’s hard to be an introvert with three little kids in my house, and finding space of my own is even more difficult, but having a good reason to do it (and not just a wild need) is the motivation I need to try harder.

  18. Laura Siebert says

    Sometimes I have to remind myself about the “oxygen mask”. You know, that photo of the mom on the plane putting the oxygen mask on herself so she can help put it on her child? Good for you for noticing when your well was drying up. Sending lots of love to you Myquillin.

  19. I’ve never actively thought about being hospitable to myself before. I usually call it “I just need a minute, everybody,” saying it like it’s a copout or something. Nope. Totally necessary and for longer than a minute. Thanks for this. Also, you’re not mean.

  20. Seriously in LOVE with this post!! Thank you for so eloquently taking the thoughts in my head and writing them down!

  21. Thank-you for sharing! I am sure this was a bit of a challenge to put this in words and admit it publicly, yet it is so valid and good for others to hear. We need to keep that balance of caring for ourselves with loving others. It can be especially difficult with holidays and the expectation that we will do everything and be there for everyone. And maybe there are many things we can’t get out of doing, but if we take a few moments, or maybe a couple hours we can “sneak away” and read a book, pray, enjoy the quiet or maybe some soothing music, get cozy and do a mental reset. I struggle sometimes with doing it. I really need to “pencil it in” like any other appointment to make myself do it.

    Anyway, all that to say thanks for sharing and being vulnerable with us! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

  22. I so love this post! I’m finding more and more the need for margin in our lives…something that is sometimes easier said than done with 3 kiddos and a business that never really shuts off. Trying to make decisions to put our family (and me) first and not feel guilty about telling people no…or not now…not the easiest thing, but definitely a good thing!

    And “the husband” I had one in college and *LOVED* it and when we got married Brad hated it…I think it was largely the name :) Needless to say, it’s long since gone from our house :) Yes and yes for coming up with a better name!!

    Love you Nester- your heart blesses so many! Introverts unite ;)

  23. I love this post. I need to do more of this at my house. Your story makes me want to clean out our “abyss,” the office/second guest room/storage space for all the stuff we haven’t found places for yet. To do that, though, we need to clean & arrange the garage so we can get garage stuff and tools out of the laundry room and kitchen. It’s a line of dominoes that this post motivates me to start knocking over. Thanks!

  24. Took a break today from prettying my place for thanksgiving and taking care of my peeps to get a relaxing massage that I scheduled…….a MONTH ago. First time I’ve looked at what I’ll need (before a family ta-do)ahead of time. It was the best massage of my life I think because of the ahead part. Then came here for inspiration and got an atta girl! THANK YOU!!!!!

  25. Agh! (The 2nd half of my comments disappeared!)
    I absolutely love what you have done with your beautiful office…the fluffy inviting bed, gourmet coffee..who wouldn’t love to go to work there each day! (Or be a guest!). You are such an inspiration not only when it comes to beautifying your space, but also when it comes to making sure your own needs are met before taking on the needs of others. I think that is so important, especially during this busy time of year. Thank you for always being such a wonderful inspiration!! ❤️

  26. Wow! What an unbelieveably raw, honest, and real post!
    Thank you for your honesty and sincerity. It’s like I got “permission” to acknowledge that I feel the same way. I love my family and friends but sometimes by the end of the week, I just want to go hide somewhere just so I can rest, peacefully, in a small quiet space all by myself!

    The comment about the instructions we are given when we fly: “put your oxygen mask on first before helping others”- is Soo true. We can’t give what we don’t have!
    Your posting on Hospitality to yourself, was just the hospitality many of us needed!

    Thank you Myquillin!

  27. Brendt Blanks says

    Please share where the “world’s fluffiest down comforter” is from? Thank you!!

  28. This is one of my all time favorite posts that you’ve written. We’re currently living in Florida — a six month stint for my military husband — and I’ve viewed this time as a ‘sabbatical’ of sorts for our family. A break from entertaining in our home, extending ourselves in building lots of relationships, and generally stepping back from everything except our family. At times I have struggled feeling guilty about not getting involved in church or hosting gatherings for our neighbors. But I’ve learned that taking a break from these things is necessary in order to truly minister to others, as you said. Now that we’re looking toward the end of our time here, I feel ready again. Ready to open the doors of my home, and my heart, to people, both to serve and be served. I hope you can enjoy your delicious coffee, warm feet, and cozy husband (both the pillow and the for real kind) in this next week before you host your Thanksgiving gathering. Thank you for sharing from your heart.

  29. Recently, I had a meltdown because I have too many friends and not enough time (extrovert problems), so my husband had me make a list and separate them into three categories. We picked a handful of people that we count as our close friends., then went from there. The bottom category is people that we say “yes” to every 5-10 times. We had a category for new friends we want to get to know too. It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever done. I don’t say no to friends. Ever. But then I feel unclose to people I feel close to because I’m always spending time with the entire world. Anyways, I never would have done that without my husband telling me to do it. It’s helped me so much already. We feel close to our friends and we don’t feel guilty about staying close to them and not as close to the whole wide world.

    • So smart! To knock your socks off- my sister was like this. We hardly saw her or she would schedule a whole bunch of people together to cram as much into her schedule as possible and we would end up spending time with her friends. She could never take away from her activities, only keep adding more. I was sad when I had kids and she would hardly visit. Then she got cancer. We all spent tons of time together (very sick, lots of hospital). She passed away recently and we were all so grateful we saw and became closer to her in 3.5 years than we probably would have in 20 regular years. Bonus for extroverts though, giant memorial, everyone loves you:)

  30. Totally relate. I’ve spent so much of my year pouring out in support of other people’s happiness that I got to the end of it and felt completely empty and didn’t know what I used to do that made ME happy. I adopted a puppy {from a no-kill shelter that let’s you take a pet home for 7 days and then follow through with the adoption} and quickly realized that was a mistake. And took her back 24 hours later. And cried. I went into recluse-mode. If I didn’t want to put on real clothes and leave my house on a Saturday, I didn’t. I gave myself some time. I painted a dresser one weekend, made a plan and tried new recipes another…being hospitable to myself has made me happier and in turn, more than happy for all the happy events of friends and family.

  31. Cindy Jones says

    Thankfully, it sounds like to are listening to your heart. Take the time you need to find the joy in your days again. That’s what His grace is all about.

  32. When I read this post, I exhaled deeply. Amen to everything you expressed here. I said “no” to a few school volunteer opportunities this week and I struggled with guilt over that. I knew in my heart that it was not what would be good for my soul or my heart…it’s SO draining to me. Funny thing is that my kids could care less if I do those things. I give everything I have to them when they are home.
    I have found myself needing more and more quiet time as I get older. I feel like it is so hard to hear the Lord speak with all the craziness going on around us (not to mention 3 kids:) I absolutely love this post and I feel like I need to print it out and read it daily through the holidays!:)

  33. Beautiful! Truer words were never spoken. If we aren’t hospitable to ourselves we have nothing left to give others. Today, I woke up stressed and frazzled, knotted with fear (worries) for no reason and every reason. Feeling guilty for feeling depleted etc., I had a good cry then I decided I was going to go snuggle in the big (husband) leather chair in the living room. I wrapped myself in my cozy blanket at 9:30 ish a.m. . I woke up at 2:50 pm. I guess I needed to catch up on sleep. I started using the word No a lot more when I turned 40; now several years later I still give myself permission to just say no. Love that you have a cozy space just for you! I have a little building that I dream about making into my space. For now I claim a corner of the kitchen where I can look out on the world as it passes by.

  34. I can not get the nespresso link to work on my windows phone. I’m not sure if its just the phone or not, so I’ll try it from a computer later, but wanted to mention it just in case…

  35. Thank you for putting into words everything I’ve been feeling lately. We host our community group each week in our house and I’ve been faking hospitality the last few months and wasn’t sure why when I loved the people in my home. I was starting to feel like there was something wrong with me. Glad I’m not the only one who feels this way. And going to make sure I take care of myself and not feel guilty for taking that time.

  36. This is true. Trapping people in your home for a visit while you’re flustered and half-there is far more inconsiderate than calling to reschedule. We all value our time, we should definitely give ourselves some so we’ll have more to give to others. Take care of yourself. =)

  37. amen, sister!
    as women, we are notorious for “running on fumes” with no regard to self-care. it’s such an important issue. thank you for talking about it AND being transparent with us. you are a blessing.

  38. Another word from the chronically busy: there are times people cancel on my and I am so, so sad (whether they’re visiting me or vice versa). I cope, of course. But I am a little afraid to admit how often people cancel on me and I am so, so relieved. And I’m talking about people I LIKE, and activities I ENJOY. The relieved times might be 30% (is that horrible? It is). There is just way too much going on.

    But all this calls for is the ability to say “not this time.” I spent much of my 0-17 years with far too little to say no too. That was sad. This is just busy. That’s a good problem.


    “my” = “me”
    “too” = “to”


  40. I’m so proud of you for learning as you go. . . and now learning as you don’t go. Stopping is hard, isn’t it? But better to stop voluntarily than have to be stopped involuntarily, which is inevitable if we don’t take care of ourselves.

    How cool that you now have a Nespresso machine as part of your taking-care-of-you space. We LOVE our Nespresso. . .and we’re kind of addicted to it. Luckily for us, when we were on our vacation this summer (lifetime dream trip, that is), we stayed in a chateau in Normandy and an apartment in Paris–and they BOTH had Nespresso machines!

    P.S. I love you.

  41. Yep and yep to all the above, said it better than I ever could!
    But also…that Nespresso is incredible! Definitely on my wish list now and especially at 25% off. I sampled a cup at Williams Sonoma last weekend and it’s raised the bar for coffee at home. My son loves his smaller Pixie, but I want the bigger one that makes the crema on top.
    (I don’t work for Nespresso, just a huge fan!)

  42. Totally good to have those quiet peaceful spots to think and pray. Sooo hard to do at times :) Great post.

  43. Perfectly said and so much of this resonates with me, not because I have hosted a ton, but because I am an introvert who needs that “me” time in order to feel like I can give to anyone else. I just got married in July so we haven’t hosted a whole lot yet but we are hosting Christmas next month, which honestly is a little daunting. We haven’t even been in our home since we got married because we immediately were sent to Alabama for a 4 month “business” trip for my husband in the Air Force. We will be back to our home in Atlanta literally 12 days before Christmas! Talk about stressful; trying to get my house in order and decorated and ready to host and I haven’t even had a chance to enjoy it myself or with my husband. I am excited to host and welcome family and friends into our house but I am hoping and praying that my heart is prepared (moreso than my house) to be hospitable and welcoming to our guests. I love interacting with people and sharing life with others and simply being a listening ear, but I definitely am worn out after a night with friends or a night out on the town with lots of people. I love coming back to my home and curling up in bed with a book or just relaxing with my cup of tea to rejuvenate my soul. My husband is the complete opposite and gets energy from being around people. While I love people, I need my alone time, my “me” time where I can be with myself and my heart and reflect, think, and relax. I have learned over the years that it is so vital to sometimes do whats best for me and put my needs first; its not selfish, its simply taking care of myself and that looks very different for everyone. Thanks for sharing this beautifully honest piece that so many of us women can relate to!

  44. This post is fantastic and all of the comments. I love it. I’m also super in love with that cute zebra rug dish you have. You have great taste :)

  45. Oh man. This post just grabbed at all the feelings. My husband and I are in a tiny little apartment right now while we are getting him through pharmacy school. I love hosting, and thankfully we’ve mastered having guests even in the small space. I have loved being able to cook home cooked meals for his friends that are away from home, even though I was so worried at first and let’s be honest, a little ashamed of the tiny-ness. But I’ve just been feeling some emptiness here. I’ve tried to make it a home, but after reading this post I realize I haven’t made it a home for my heart. It looks good and nice, but I haven’t fully invested in it as my place like I thought I had. So now the challenge is on — find a place for me in the tiny apartment. :) Thanks for your heart and your openness and just being real.

  46. loving my home as christmas, the most wonderful time of the year approaches. the colors and sparkle just adds to the warmth of home and brings our family closer together. i look forward to entertaining with close friends this season and share the beauty and inspiration of my own spaces

  47. Good morning Myquillyn. Such good thoughts. It is so necessary, to take care of ourselves first so that we have something to give to others. I wish someone had told me that when I was young wife and mother busy with 4 children and a husband who sometimes travelled a lot for work. You are so blessed to have a room of your own! That’s what I long for, a space that is just for me, that Idon’t have to share, that I can go in and shut the door. Sending warm ((hugs))on a cold morning.

  48. I’m proud of you for recognizing when you need a break and doing what needed to be done. And your philosophy is so right. If we can’t be hospitable with ourselves in our home, how can we extend true hospitality to others?

    I’m practicing self-hospitality this week by making a few Pinterest projects- something I almost never do. One is a cute and sweet-smelling garland with dried oranges, apples, and cinnamon men and the other is painted pine cones from my yard. These will look great and I’ll be refreshed when I host Thanksgiving- my favorite holiday.

    Thanks for the reminder that this is okay and I don’t have to feel guilty for doing Pinterest projects if that is what makes me happy. ;)

  49. Oh my gosh, I needed this today! I’ve had a tension headache for two days about “hospitality” day that is still a week away! The funny thing is, I’m hosting family that comes to my house on a regular basis and have seen it in all stages of beauty and chaos. So why oh why do I stress myself out about making the perfect Thanksgiving dinner in a magazine-worthy decorated dining room? Crazy! I will remember this blog post. The important thing is being available to our guests for meaningful conversations, laughter, and memories. Thank you!

  50. I truly needed this at this specific time this morning. It’s 11:10 AM. I’ve been having an open house since 9:30 and not a soul has crossed my threshold. I’ve had the whole house to myself. I was a little disappointed at first, but knew God was in control and exactly what needed to happen would happen. There are still 20 minutes left, but who knows if anyone will show. I’ll enjoy the hot spiced cider and soak in the silence and show some radical hospitality to myself today.

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