Making Room for Guests
By Marcia K. Washburn
“Offer hospitality to one another without
Hospitality is a challenge for me. I am solitary by nature and I love structuring my own days. Yet, the Father
has brought a variety of people into our
home through the years—parents in
failing health, a homeless woman, and
for vacations, our adult sons and their
families. In each case we have been enriched by the experience of living together, whether briefly or long-term.
God has stretched my heart to include
others in my life.
We live in a small farmhouse originally
built in 1908. Although it has been en-
larged and remodeled several times over
its long lifetime, it still bulges when all of
our family comes home. The boys cheer-
fully slept on a couch or on the floor in
a sleeping bag when the grandparents
visited years ago, but now our sons are
bringing their wives and children to visit
the “old home place.” And since our chil-
dren are scattered from Phoenix to Or-
lando, they stay several days when they
visit. Instead of housing a family of sev-
en, we often host twenty-five for a family
gathering, with extra day guests besides.
Here’s how we do it.
Sleeping arrangements. Of course you
will want to make your guests as comfortable as possible. Consider their
need for an extra blanket or pillow, a
bedside clock, a nightlight or flashlight, a coaster for a glass of water, and
perhaps a reading light with a selection
of reading materials. Most of these are
possible when you have enough bedrooms to host all of your houseguests,
but what about when the house is overflowing with company?
Hospitality is more a
matter of the size of
your heart than the
size of your home.
When your sleepers outnumber your
beds you must get creative. We have
used couches, air beds, recliners, a tent,
the back of a station wagon padded with
lawn chair cushions, and a camper trailer. One year we borrowed a tepee from a
friend. A newborn even slept in a padded
I like to pack everything needed for
one temporary bed in one bin so it is easy
to pull out when needed. During the daytime, the bedding can be stored out of the
way while the couch or floor space is in
use for non-sleeping activities.
Think about where your guests with
disappearing bedrooms will store their
luggage during daylight hours too. Assign them a place for coats, purses, cameras, and other items that will be used
throughout the day. Don’t forget that you
may need a charging station or two for
all of your wired guests and their various