Monday, September 27, 2010

Book Review: The Reluctant Entertainer

I am so excited to write about this book... I can hardly stand it. 

Let me start by saying that over the summer we studied spiritual gifts in our Sunday morning Bible class.  I have always wanted to do a spiritual gifts study, so I was stoked to finally get in on one.  At our teacher's encouragement, Greg and I both took a spiritual gifts test.  It turns out that "hospitality" was Greg's #4 and my #2 gift.   Who knew?

This was very exciting to me because ahhhh, how I love to entertain.  Just a few days afterward, I stumbled across this book online, and knew it was too ironic to be coincidence.  A book on hospitality written from a Christian's perspective?  I bought it fast... read it fast (twice actually)... and was not disappointed. 

The author, Sandy Coughlin from The Reluctant Entertainer blog, has spent her lifetime opening her home to others.  She tells many stories of disasters that have happened throughout her experiences... from surprise sprinklers to emergency room trips.  Her tales, as hilarious as some of them are, all serve the purpose of better explaining the overall theme of the book - Hospitality is not about perfection or self-promotion.  It is about genuine fellowship with others for the sake of glorifying the Father. 

If you have ever felt like your home was not clean or fancy enough to have people over... this book is for you.  If you have ever felt like your kids are too chaotic to invite people into your home... this book is for you.  If you have ever felt like you can't cook or can't throw together a nice enough party... this book is for you.  Her encouraging words and simple "Ten Commandments" make you want to have people into your home - chaos and all.

I thank God that he allowed me to find a book to remind me to throw out insecurities of having people in my home and instead, focus on what true entertaining should be all about.  Let the insecurities go.  As Beth Moore says, "They've been a bad friend to us."  (side note: Beth Moore book review coming soon!)  Coughlin explains that, "Regular individuals can't relate to perfect people," (pg. 39).  Whew, what a relief that people can actually find my messes relatable!

In addition, Coughlin provides delicious recipes with pictures (because cookbooks with pictures are way better, right?) and a checklist of the simple things you will want to consider investing in if you want to be a more "serious" entertainer.  And she's garage sale thrifty, too!  Bonus. 

All in all, I would give Mrs. Coughlin's book an A+ for two reasons.  First, she makes me want to have people over for meals and fellowship... something I've stressed about and avoided in times past.  And secondly, she takes you step-by-step through how to plan a wonderful event that includes the five senses and leaves out the hassle.

If you like food and fellowship, and you are not Martha Stewart, you should read this book.  Period. 

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