Give the Gift of Hospitality

Dear Friends,

In January Ed and I traveled to Harbour Island and to Panama. Both were wonderful in their own special ways. In Harbour Island, we enjoyed a low key visit to the Coral Sands Resort with good friends, Mopsy and Doug Aldridge, and multiple visits to Sip Sip for lunch, a Harbour Island favorite. While there I enjoyed a long conversation with owner, Julie Lighthorn. Lively, and interesting, she was kind enough to share how she prepared the eggplant our group shared two days in a row. (I had a little more than my fair share!)
Julie wants to write a book. I hope she does!  

Our travel to Panama was with a few of our oldest friends, Ann Colley, and Leslie and JR Richardson, along with new friends, both American and Panamanian. Panama is a beautiful country and the people are warm and gracious. While in Panama City we welcomed by the Richardsons’ good friend, Judy Amando at the American Trade Hotel, who upon learning I had written a book, quickly posted a story about EE to her thousands of followers. How nice is that?! I’m excited to welcome her friends to EE!

We visited two very special museums, the Mola Museum, which chronicles the history and current practice of this very unique art form on fabric. Many of the designs are elaborate and intricate, all hand sewn. We also visited the Panama Canal Museum. The history of the canal is fascinating and the museum is remarkable in its breadth and depth. There was so much I didn’t know and was excited to learn. From there we visited an extraordinary resort off the coast of Panama — Islas Secas. Everything on this little island was perfect … dining, accommodations, services, activities, etc. Best of all was their gracious hospitality.

In addition to wanting to let you know of these wonderful places, it was the hospitality we experienced that prompted this message. The owner of Sip Sip in Harbour Island talked with me as though I was having lunch in her home — like we were old friends swapping stories and recipes. Sip Sip is her home — she lives right above the restaurant and I felt welcomed like a personal friend. On our first night in Panama City, one of the Panamanian couples in our group invited us to dinner in their home. Our hosts simply said they couldn’t have us coming to Panama and only going to restaurants. Our hosts served the most delicious Panamanian dinner in their beautiful garden as they simply welcomed us into their home and as the cover of my book says, into their hearts. We can’t wait to reciprocate. Even at Islas Secas, we all felt as though we were guests in someone’s home as we lingered in long conversations around the table.

Hospitality and time around the table bind us to one another in a unique way. Strangers become friends. Friendships grow deeper. We yearn to be connected and to know each other’s stories and to feel as though we are important to one another. I love a good restaurant, but when we welcome others into our homes, we are truly welcoming them into our hearts.

And speaking of our hearts … this Valentine’s Day express your love as you … open your homes, open your hearts, and give the gift of hospitality. EE makes this time even sweeter with Chocolate Chess Pie.