Hospitality and Burnt Potpourri

Years ago I participated in a Ladies Sunday School class on the subject of hospitality.  It was led by one of the most hospitable women I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing.  About 20 of us sat around a large table in our church and I soaked up information and tips from older, wiser women who had practiced and lived out the art of hospitality for years.  I was inspired and loved every minute of it.

One of the things that was discussed was the fact that hospitality is an act of love and should make  guests feel loved and prepared for.

One way to think of the preparations is to ponder our 5 senses, and take steps to make each one pleasant:

1. Sight :  {pretty vase of flowers, tidy rooms}

2.  Sound:  {nice dinner music, conversation with laughter}

3.  Taste:  {delicious treats}

4.  Touch:  {Soft, cozy furniture and slippers for cool floors}

5. Smell:  {pleasant aromas}

At the end of our study course, we decided to have a party of sorts.  If I remember correctly, we actually went to various peoples’ homes for evenings of fun and fellowship.  One night the party was at my house.

I’ll admit.  After studying hospitality for weeks with ladies who were pros at it, the pressure was a tad high.  I wish I could say that hospitality just oozes out of me naturally, but honestly, I can tend to sweat the details.

I was trying my hardest to not stress, though.  {I’m certain that was part of the curriculum, too!}  I was going over the 5 senses test, and things seemed to be going smoothly.

In the “smell” department, I had decided to try out a new simmering potpourri recipe.  The mixture of orange peels, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla was the perfect scent for the cool Fall evening.

Ah…everything was all in order.

I was ready.

About 5 minutes before their arrival, I noticed  an odd scent wafting through the house…

Upon further investigation, I discovered a smoking pot on my stove top.

The potpourri had burned dry.

Moments before the guests arrived I was running through the house, throwing open the windows, and lighting candles frantically.

I didn’t even try to hide it from them.  I threw open the door and greeted them while laughing.  It was the greatest ice breaker ever.  Everyone has disaster stories to share, and are they ever fun to hear!  Even perfectly hospitable hosts have their “oops” moments!!Smile

So, today I want to share with you my secret “perfect smell” solution:



It’s magical really.  I haven’t found anything quite as good at both disguising the old musty smell of our house and creating an atmosphere of laughter, relaxation, and fun.

And, thankfully, it has never boiled dry!;)

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