If you come to my house....

If you come to my house for dinner... You can expect to be given a home cooked meal made of real food...but, it's very likely that there will be dirty dishes in the sink. Expect to be eating largely organic, free-range, and grass fed as the case may be...but my toddler may sing ABCs during dinner, or reach clear across the table for bread, or roll his toy car on your back. Expect that I will have good beer (usually local) that you can enjoy...but, you may be dragged to the playroom to play cars or asked to hold the baby for a bit. Expect to be heartily welcomed...but, you may be asked to leave early because we aren't afraid to kick people out because we're tired. Expect casual, comfortable and usually messy. Expect laughter and conversation...but expect it to be interrupted by kids and seasoned with awkwardness now and then.

If I invite you to my home for dinner...

I expect you to play with my kids at least a little. I expect you to make yourself at home - take your shoes off, help yourself to water, beer, raw milk or whatever other drinks are around, change the music if you want. Excuse the mess and pardon the kids chaos.

I love having people over, i would usually much rather have people in my home than go to someone else's, but I'm not a Martha Stewart type of host. When I invite someone over I invite them into a little bit of myself - I am messy, and unfinished and so is my home. I am not interested in facades or perfection, I can't maintain them. I am interested in friendship, I am interested in building authentic community.

I will welcome you into my home on the day when my kids took extra long naps, and I am refreshed and prepared, and on the day when I only got two hours of sleep and didn't have time to clean. I will welcome you in on the days when I'm energized and creative and the days when I just can't snap out of my negative funk. Sometimes I might ask all the right questions and we'll have a great conversation. Other times I might be tired and awkward and we may end up just watching an episode of Friends or Modern Family together.

So, come on over. Come in and take a seat. Breathe. Relax. I won't pretend if you won't. Welcome to the mess, the chaos, the unfinished work in progress. Welcome to my home.

Rejoicing in the journey, Bethany Stedman