Preparing for a guest

September 11, 2009 | My Jottings

Ever since we moved into this big house, we’ve had lots of company. We have a third floor guest suite than can sleep five, and we have enjoyed hosting friends and family every chance we get. As a matter of fact, I just extended an invitation to a dear Scottish friend who may be coming to our continent soon, and we’re hoping that she and her husband will take us up on our offer.

I like preparing for guests. I don’t buy pricey sheets for our bedroom, but for our guest suite I like having expensive, lush-feeling sheets on the beds. We have a little fridge up there that I try to fill with things I know our guests will like. I put piles of books and magazines around, have a boom box with soft classical music playing for their arrival, there’s a rocking recliner overlooking our woodsy back yard with a creek, and a puffy goose-down comforter on the queen bed for fall and winter visitors. In the summer we put in a window air conditioner with a remote control. For a Minnesota north woods touch, on the wall of the sitting room is a bird clock that sounds a real recording of an owl at noon, a cardinal at three and a chickadee at six.

The decor in the guest suite is a bit plain. Taupe-colored carpet. White chenille bedspreads on the queen and two twin beds, like my grandmother used to have, and a few yellow and green Waverly throw pillows. Dark olive green walls. Angled ceilings, since it’s on our third floor. A couple of very old floral needlepoint pictures hanging on the walls, that my maternal Grandma Oma stitched years ago. Some bookcases, a dresser, an old maple desk, a white crib, a television, a nightstand.


The view above looks out toward the front of our house.


This one above looks out over the back yard and Birdinal Creek. Our next visitor will be able to see that just a few maple leaves have begun to turn red and orange. See the little white fridge? If this were your space and you were preparing for my visit, you would put Golden Delicious apples in there, along with bottles of water, tiny Reese’s miniature peanut butter cups, and some fresh pineapple. You would also put a box of Carr’s rosemary crackers on top of the fridge and maybe a bit of cheese to go with them. 🙂


What do you (or what would you) put in your guest room in anticipation of visitors? I would love a new idea or three. Or is there someplace you go where nice things are done in preparation for your stay? What would you appreciate?

In less than a week, one of my dearest friends will wing her way across the country to come for a visit. Tauni and I grew up right over the fence from each other in West Covina, California. We’ve been friends for over forty-something years now, kept in touch, infrequently visited each other, and prayed for each others’ families.

It’s wonderful how when you share a deep faith in Christ with a friend, nothing really separates you. You can live thousands of miles apart, see each other once a decade, and not really be part of each others’ day-to-day living. But still there’s a bond that is so strong and steady, the passing of years and the distance of miles doesn’t weaken it at all. If anything, I think my friendships built on Jesus just get stronger and more satisfying as the years fly by. Tauni is that kind of friend for me.

We’re both grandmas now. We’ve both seen really hard times, and found God faithful in all of them.

I’m so excited to see her, and I’m happily getting the guest suite ready for her arrival.


  1. Tauni says:

    AAWWW!! Thank you so much for already preparing my heart to be there! I am so excited to be coming and am looking forward to all that God has planned for us!

  2. Jessica says:

    I’ve never seen your house in real life but I think I want it. If you do decide to relocate to Madeline Island (which I don’t think you should, we want you to stay here!), I want your house.

    I always dream of having a house with enough bedrooms that I can always have a guest room. We used to and it seems to be filled with a two year old boy and his toys now. Some day I will always have one ready….we have guests often enough to warrant it.

    In the meantime, even though they have to sleep on a hide-a-bed now, I try to pick out the quantity and thickness of pillows that I know various guests like and I try to make sure they never have to re-use a towel or washcloth….In the past, when we did have a guest room, I would sometimes put chocolates on the pillows or leave little treats that I know they liked on the bed, leaning on the pillows.

    I have also left a basket with books and info about Duluth in the room, including postcards and postcard stamps.

    Now that I have small children, sometimes I’m just happy to get the bed pulled out and made but these are things I’ve done in the past and hope to get back to doing.

    I would like to come to your house for a sleepover too! =)

  3. Sue Raimo says:

    This lovely space is a great gift to offer your guests. However, sleeping in a sleeping bag on your living room floor would be enough knowing I’d get to spend time sharing a cup of coffee and warm and caring conversation with you. You have a gift for making others feel welcome – guest room or no guest room.

  4. Just Julie says:

    You are one of the most encouraging people I know, Sue. Thank you for your kind words. I could say the exact things about you – anyone you call friend is blessed indeed!

  5. Tauni says:

    I did not see the photos before I posted my previous note. It looks so lovely and inviting. I am going to make sure Curt sees this so when we are chatting on the phone in the evening before bed he can picture me in that wonderful looking rocker! I will say tho, I am in agreement with Sue. I remember my last visit was long before you finished your previous home and I slept on the couch in the living room and was comfy and blessed. You do have the gift for making others feel welcome regardless of the sleeping accommodations!

  6. Savannah says:

    I would have to agree with Jessica. My first thought, after reading your post, was that I would leave chocolates on pillows, and postcards and stamps. Such sweet and simple acts of love that mean so much!

    Aunt Julie… have I mentioned that I really, really, really want to come and visit you? Cause it is all truth! I think that Grandma Dorothy and I should come and visit you. It would be so wonderful, and a great girls week! And then I could stay in that darling little room with crisp apples, warm and cozy blankets, reeses cups, and a spectacular view. *wishful sigh*

  7. Just Julie says:

    Savannah, you are welcome to visit us anytime! When are you able to come?

  8. Dorothy Sooter says:

    Dear Julie,

    How blessed I feel to even think that Savannah and I could come and stay in that beautiful environment. I believe it was
    8 years ago when Grandpa and I arrived on that horrific day on our way to Tenn. taking Savannah home. I believe that Savannah and I can figure out a time to make such a trip and planning it will be so much fun. Okay, Savannah, let us pray and make that dream come true. Love, Grandma Dorothy

  9. Tauni's Husband Curt says:

    The Room is beautiful, as are your sentiments, It is no wonder that Tauni has been acting like a Kid the day before Disneyland for the last couple of weeks. But I must protest, you are providing for her a room without wheels, and an space without Jet noise, sand, and no chores, I fear that she may learn that her life is , well shall we say less than normal here. Please send her home to me soon ’cause I Love her lots, and she completes me (I know not original but very true). You guys have your slumber party and read the Bible together. PS- She is hovering over my shoulder , and I actually like the attention, God Bless you and thank you for this respit for her, she is working very hard and she will apprectiate the time with you, and Jesus.

  10. Larry says:

    I would comment that the third floor room leaves little to be desired, other than an elevator 🙂 and perhaps a foot ottoman (spelling).

    I would like very much to streach out in front of the window near the fridge with a ice cold pepsi a little table like the kind you can use to eat and watch TV with so that I could make notes while reading if I wanted too.

    It is a snickers bar for me, I like them cold and of course hard, they seem to last longer that way.

    Oh and good sharp cheese and crakers are a favorite of mine too.

    I would like to spend quiet time with Michael, love his love of the trees and the plants, the time we have spent together, we enjoyed the many colors of green in God’s creation, or if this time of year the colors of fall 🙂

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