a lesson in hospitality

Marian Parsonsa slice of life25 Comments

 When you see someone in their element, doing something they are truly gifted to do, it’s a special thing.

Last week, I had the chance to witness someone displaying their abundant gift of hospitality first hand in a beautiful new-old house nestled in the hills of Hamilton, Virginia.

And that someone was Chris of Zion Springs Bed & Breakfast (and wedding venue).  Here’s a picture of Chris (in the middle) with me and my mom.

They inherited a beautiful lot of land and built a home perfectly suited to their large family and included a “wing” to house Chris’s dad.  Sadly Chris’s dad passed away before the home was complete, so Chris and her husband prayed about how they could use that extra space.  She shared that they tried a few different things, like opening the rooms to local college students, and finally decided to take the plunge and turn it into a bed & breakfast.

And, more recently, they built a gorgeous barn to use as a venue for weddings and parties.

Of course, the home, grounds, and that barn are all beautiful.  What was more enjoyable were all of the touches that made the place feel informal and like home.  The boys immediately began shooting hoops with Chris’s youngest son.  Within minutes, they were running through the private part of their house, taking a spin down the twirly tube slide in the basement, throwing the ball for the yellow lab to fetch, and playing soccer in the field by the creek.

It was the kind of home where you felt comfortable enough to sit and play the banjo.  Barefoot.  (Which some people chose to do!)

Or run around and take pictures of all of the “moments” that invited you to sit and just be…

…or meander and discover.

And it was a lesson that hospitality is so much more than quiche and coffee cake served on vintage Courier & Ives plates.

It’s more than offering a comfy bed and serving a tray of ice waters in mason jars to a group who just worked a long, hot day at an antique market.

And the fact that Chris understood that was evident in every conversation that seemed to filter directly to the heart.  It was clear that running a bed and breakfast wasn’t simply about charging customers to enjoy their material gifts.  Chris’s priority with using those material gifts in harmony with the gifts she possesses within her in order to minister to anyone who crosses her path.

And we were definitely ministered to as Chris and her family hosted my family and my crew through the entire Lucketts event.  And she did it without asking for anything in return.

It was a beautiful thing to experience.  It was not only such a comfort at the end of a busy, tiring day, but it was a challenge and an encouragement to me personally.  I have been so “busy” since I had my kids and started my business and Jeff started school and on and on…  But we’re all busy.  And I know that I don’t want the sum of my adult life to be that I was busy and I worked really hard.

So, on the other side of moving boxes and uncertain plans, I hope to make hospitality and opening our home a greater priority.

a lesson in hospitality

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25 Comments on “a lesson in hospitality”

  1. Well, at least you know you’ll have enough plates when the time comes! The couple you stayed with sound amazing .

  2. It truly takes a special kind of person to run a B&B or Inn. The most important part of an innkeepers job is to make their guests feel relaxed and at home and it sure looks like Chris did that well as it seems your family and team look right at home. I have stayed in several B&B’s where the innkeepers were distant and unfriendly and the vibe was not relaxed. It often makes me wonder why someone would want to go in that line of business if they don’t enjoy entertaining and people.

    Running a B&B or Inn is hard work that requires long hours as well as continual property maintenance to ensure your guests comfort and enjoyment. That’s why so many innkeepers burn out after about 6-8 years.

  3. Hmmmmm … A warm, talented, hard-working mom who creates beautiful interiors and knows how to run a business.

    Who does that remind me of?

    (Love the comment about the plates. Very Funny).

  4. Thanks for sharing a tale that warms my heart. There are lots of good folks in this world.
    Can you find out what is growing on the path between the stones????

  5. I used to live in Hamilton, leesburg Va area. It was my favorite time of my life. It is so beautiful. There was a fabric store we would walk down to as teenagers and just browse. I also met Oliver North there too. I have not been back to visit in ten years. Thanks for sharing brought back a lot of memories.

  6. What a lovely place to stay! I’m glad you had an opportunity to relax and recharge your batteries after long weeks preparing for the fair, travel to VA, and setting up an amazing “shop” at Lucketts. The B&B is gorgeous and would be a wonderful place to spend a weekend.

  7. Since you are about to be untethered and looking for a new home base put that area on the list, Marian!! Maybe from your lips (or pen) to God’s ears…

  8. I could feel the hominess as we speak. Love your quilt with the pumpkin square…also your Longaberger rack on the wall. Always pleases me to see these being used. Everything is awesome.

  9. You know it’s funny you say that you are looking for the hospitality on the other side of the move. We are about to have the last baby graduate from high school and am working toward that as a part of my future as well…

    Bonne Chance!!

    Susan M

  10. Would love if your husband got a call a little bit north of where you are😊- central PA for instance. Thanks for all your lovely photos and beautiful heartfelt posts.

  11. Beautiful Marian. That’s what it’s all about. Hospitality- loving, caring and encouraging one another with Jesus’ love.

  12. What a beautiful barn and the B nB sounds like an awesome place to visit. I have this itch to move to Virginia, my dad was born and raised in Virginia. Not sure where this yearning to move will take me. Only time will tell

  13. Thank you for sharing this Marian. It is refreshing to read about good people and the positive impact we can all have on each other if we are just kind to each other. In addition, I enjoyed see the pictures of the beautiful home and barn.

  14. I loved this post. I’m still looking for that “thing I’m gifted to do” and hope I find it (sooner than later 🙂 )

    My son has been going to school in Purcellville for the past 4 years and graduated a couple of weeks ago. I would have loved to have visited this B & B. It’s a beautiful part of the country, and my son has thoroughly enjoyed exploring the area.

  15. This really touched my heart! What a blessing for her to have you respond and want to pay it forward. I wish you peace during this packing and moving, for your entire family…I am sure I am not the only one waiting to see what is next…I wish you nothing but the very best!

  16. Fellow minister’s wife here! When we moved to our new church in a new state 6 years ago, we set a goal of having everyone in our 120 member church in our home in the first year. We didn’t quite make it due to some limitations in our home (no bathrooms on main floor, so some of the seniors could not come over), but it was probably the best thing we did in our ministry. It really set the tone that our family was investing in our church and community and that we wanted people to feel at home with us. I would greatly encourage you to make a specific plan and carry it out. We have small children, so nothing was ever spotless or elaborate, but it was nice to share life together, and that has continued on. Pick a couple of simple menus that can bake in the oven or crockpot while you’re at church and alternate the menus every week. Your family is only eating the same thing every two weeks, the guests don’t know the difference, and you will be a pro at serving those meals within a few weeks. We would also invite guests at church that day to join us if they wanted, and that made people feel really special. Kudos to you for wanting to open your home to more hearts! Blessings to you.

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