We were given a wonderful calendar that we could print out for Sandija (New Horizons has been amazing at giving resources!). It has the months and days of the week written in English, Latvian and Russian. This is a visual for her to understand what day she arrives and what day she leaves...a way to keep track of her days...a reminder that she is being hosted for 5 weeks and will then return to Latvia. Yesterday I printed it out for her, but it looked a tad plain and in need of a little something to make it personalized for Sandija.
I have a little book I picked up awhile back titled Home Warming: Secrets to Making Your House a Welcoming Place by Emilie Barnes ("hospitality expert"). It was a beautiful book with warm drawings of home. My kind of book. It has a chapter dedicated to "guests." She talks of how "imaginative 'extra touches' can make a big difference. These are the little extras that say, 'I care'." She gives examples of placing fresh flowers and interesting mementos in a guest's room, providing them with a robe in the bathroom, turning down their sheets before bedtime...the little things that make people feel special.
I love to incorporate these sorts of things into our home life, not just for guests, but for my family. On occasion in winter months, I will take cups of hot (warm!) chocolate for the boys to enjoy while in their bath or a cup of hot tea with a note for my teenage daughter who may be having a bad day. A series of "little things" create an atmosphere of love...slipping little notes in their bedrooms before they wake up in the morning, surprising them with a candlelight breakfast, pulling warm clothes out of the dryer for them to put on after coming from playing in the snow, surprising them with lemonade when they are playing outside on summer days, framing Scripture verses for them to read while washing their hands in the bathroom...just little things that remind them that I love them.
And plain things just aren't my cup of tea. When I took the calendar off the printer yesterday, my mind began to thumb through some ideas to spruce it up a bit. I had some extra scrapbooking paper and some leftover ribbon, and within a few minutes, the calendar had some pizzazz perfect for a teenage Latvian princess. I love how it turned out! We plan to hang it on the wall right next to her bed.
We're busy preparing for her arrival. Only 6 more days...