Avoid the Stress of Hosting a Shindig: Yes, It’s Possible!

Avoid the Stress of Hosting a Shindig: Yes, It’s Possible!

I shoo the dog from the cramped kitchen, greet new arrivals, and point to the bottle opener’s location — “The next drawer over. No, other side. There, in the front” — sticky sauce splatters the stovetop. Breathe.

“What can I do to help?” she asks.

I feign casual confidence: “I’ve got it under control” — and change the subject to her family’s most recent adventure.

The truth is, I don’t know what needs to be done. Or how to articulate it. So I might as well do it myself.

Avoid the stress of hosting?

Does this happen to you? Last-minute details keep you from enjoying time with your guests. And when someone offers to help, you’re so busy doing that you can’t think if there’s anything someone else could do.

Summer’s around the corner and, with it, the opportunity to host year-end celebrations, picnics, and potlucks. But can you host a meal, and truly enjoy your friends, without all the stress?

Is There a Better Way?

It began unintentionally.

My head throbs. But I’m unwilling to cancel tonight’s social event.

I can always excuse myself early; there’s no reason others can’t have fun!

Knowing my middle-aged brain is more compromised than usual, I list all the menu items and tasks to perform on our kitchen whiteboard.

I work my way down the list, erasing items as I complete them. When guests arrive, I hear the familiar question: “What can I do to help?”

“I’ve got it under control …”

I stop, look at the whiteboard, and say, “Could you finish the deviled eggs?”

Ahhh … My headache begins to fade.

Other guests offer to help. I ask one to cut strawberries. Another wipes down the picnic table.

Peals of laughter and conversation fill the air as we prepare the meal together.

Reduce the Stress in Your Celebrations

We’ve since perfected this dinnertime ritual:

  • Line the countertop with the necessary serving dishes
  • On a sticky note in each dish, provide simple instructions (e.g., fruit salad — strawberries, blueberries, banana, grapes).
  • Hang a list of non-food instructions on the fridge (e.g., bring chairs from the garage)

Now you can enjoy your guests from the moment they arrive rather than ushering them into the living room with drinks.

Or tripping over them as you attempt to balance food prep and conversation.

You’ll create a welcoming atmosphere and your guests will feel at home — nothing says “you’re family” like being asked to set the table!

You may even avoid scrubbing sticky sauce from your stovetop.

Need more ideas for focusing on fun and fellowship instead of stressing out about shindigs? Stop by my blog to grab your free copy of Helpful Hospitality Hints: How to Host a Meal Without Losing Your Mind.


Kendra Burrows delights in encouraging others to see God’s grace in the everyday — when she isn’t chasing the animals (and boys!) out of her kitchen. She’s still learning hospitality requires we share it all, not do it all. Connect with her at www.kendraburrows.com.

 

Undone by the Mundane? How to Combat Overwhelm with Gratitude

Undone by the Mundane? How to Combat Overwhelm with Gratitude

I have an overwhelmed heart. It’s not because my calendar is crammed full of responsibilities, social gatherings or obligations though.

I’m overwhelmed with the mundane.

• Overwhelmed with two toddlers who need my attention for what feels like every minute of the day.
• Overwhelmed that the moment all the laundry gets folded and put away it’s time to start all over.
• Overwhelmed by the dishes that never seem to be done. The day-in-and-day-out responsibilities never end.

And it makes me weary.

This is a unique sense of being overwhelmed, one less talked about. But it is a reality for all.

Sometimes I feel guilty for feeling undone by the mundane. I mean, mundane is better than a crisis, right? Of course. Yes.

But our feelings – of being overwhelmed from the day-to-day grind – are still valid. It’s real and a daily struggle for many of us. So what do we do with our beat-down hearts?

Undone by the mundane

We engage our minds to bolster our hearts.

Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on things that are true, lovely, excellent and praiseworthy. So, what if in the middle of unloading the dishwasher for the umpteenth time this week, we think about what is praiseworthy about getting to unload a full dishwasher?

For example, as I’m putting away dishes, I praise Jesus for the simple fact that I have dishes to put away. Also, a dishwasher full of dishes is an indication that we ate well that week and no one is hungry.

Or when I’m folding my kids’ laundry that only seems to multiply, I think about what’s lovely about all of those clothes. My kids have never been in want for clothes that fit. They have warm clothes when it’s cold and cool clothes when it’s hot.

Shifting our mind to think on these things places a new song in our heart. It’s one of gratitude, awareness and renewal. In doing so, gradually the mundane begins to melt away, and you feel overwhelmed in a completely new way. You’re overwhelmed with thankfulness.

This isn’t an easy practice to start, I know. It’s hard when our hearts are tired. But it is worth it, friend!

Pick one mundane activity this week, something you despise even and consider Philippians 4:8 in light of that activity. How can you turn your mind toward things that are true and pure about that activity to bolster your heart?

Try it for one week with one activity, and I promise you will see change in your mundane.

(As for me, I have linens to move from the washer to the dryer. I’m choosing to think about how wonderful it is to have fresh-smelling bed sheets.)

One Small Win: Identify one activity this week you dread and begin thinking about what is pure, lovely or admirable about that activity. Then, pay attention to how God begins changing your heart toward that mundane act!


Kate Hollimon delights in helping women learn their God-given purpose while growing in Christ through the study of scripture. Kate is a speaker and blogger who designed the Live Your Purpose Workshop Live Your Purpose Workshop to help women discover their purpose to glorify God. Kate is married to her husband Matthew of seven years and together they have two kiddos – a boy and a girl – and are in the thick of sippy cups, potty training, temper tantrums and peanut butter and jellies.  You can connect with Kate at www.katehollimon.com.

Acknowledge, Appreciate, Repeat with the Acknowledgement Jar

Acknowledge, Appreciate, Repeat with the Acknowledgement Jar

acknowledgement jar

I feel like I’m running in circles and accomplishing nothing!

As a newlywed, 23-year-old first year grad student, I found myself constantly repeating this refrain.

I was working a part-time job, getting my toes wet in ministry at my new church, and sharing a vehicle with my husband who just started his first full-time job.

Add household chores and trying to make new friends to the list, and I was one busy lady.

Do you know the feeling?

Always doing and going and then you close your eyes at the end of the day and think, “Surely I accomplished something…” Then as you lay there you discover your primary accomplishment was making it out alive!

I certainly felt that way. And I still do sometimes.

The acknowledgement jar

Which is why I created an Acknowledgement Jar.

It’s a repurposed vase, which I sat on my desk next to a stack of notecards and a pen.

At the end of each day, I challenge myself to think of at least two accomplishments for that day and write each one on a notecard, fold the cards into squares, and drop them in the jar.

These can be small victories, like completing my daily workout or avoiding late fees at the library.

Other times I write down bigger accomplishments, like landing an internship or earning a bonus.

Some days my only accomplishment is just making it through the day. And you know what? That’s okay!

The longer I’ve done this, the more accomplishments I am able to think of. I even have moments now where I’ll think to myself, I can’t wait to add this one to my jar!

Pull out your own vase

Maybe you’re learning to be an adult like me (hello bills!).

Perhaps you work over 40 hours a week and come home to children, hungry for your food and attention.

Or maybe you are a stay-at-home mom, making sure your home stays a haven.

Regardless of your routine or stage in life, I am confident that acknowledging your daily accomplishments will be encouraging!

This one simple habit has given me an eye for noticing all the little victories. I am thankful as I linger in these feel-good moments.

One Small Win: Create an Acknowledgement Jar today and be motivated by your own every day accomplishments!

acknowledgement jar

What you need:
____Container (I used a vase I found under my sink, but a box, mason jar or basket works)
____Notecards
____Writing utensil


acknowledgement jarKelsee Keitel is a graduate student and blogger, living in Indianapolis, IN, with her newlywed husband. She is passionate about cultivating sisterhood through vulnerability and introducing young women to the freedom and abundance of life in following Christ. When Kelsee is not snuggled up with a book and sipping tea, she can be found experimenting in the kitchen or chatting with her mom.

You can read more about how Kelsee experiences divine moments in the midst of ordinary life over at kelseekeitel.com or on Instagram and Facebook.

Episode #216-The Basics of Canning with Melissa K. Norris

Episode #216-The Basics of Canning with Melissa K. Norris

Episode216Canning

ListenNowDoes the idea of canning your own food scare you? What do you need? What CAN you can? Will I give someone botulism and kill them????

Today I talk with Melissa K. Norris, author of The Made from Scratch Life, about how to get started with canning. We talk about which foods get canned using different methods, what the basic equipment needs are and did you know there is a difference between Pressure Cookers and Pressure Canners??? Melissa teaches us about all of these things and more!

Let’s all give canning a try and post pictures in the comments!

Mentioned in this podcast:

Online Canning Course: Live Home Canning Class

Presto Canning Kit

Melissa’s podcast: Pioneering Today Podcast

Win a copy of Melissa’s book The Made from Scratch Life by leaving a comment telling me one step you are going to make towards homesteading!

Episode #211-The Made from Scratch Kitchen with Melissa K. Norris

Episode #211-The Made from Scratch Kitchen with Melissa K. Norris

Episode-211-Site-Artwork

ListenNowEver dreamed of being like Laura Ingalls Wilder, living off the land? Or at least being able to grow your own tomatoes without the squirrels getting them before you do?

Today I talk with Melissa K. Norris, author of The Made from Scratch Kitchen, about living the pioneer life in modern times.

Even if you are a city girl, she shares tips for gardening, cooking, and cleaning with wholesome ingredients that you can make today.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Melissa’s podcast: Pioneering Today Podcast

The $64 Tomato (book)

Win a copy of Melissa’s book The Made from Scratch Life by leaving a comment telling me one step you are going to make towards homesteading!

Episode #199-Six Chicks Freeze and Fix-Making and Freezing Meals for a Decluttered Dinner

Episode #199-Six Chicks Freeze and Fix-Making and Freezing Meals for a Decluttered Dinner

Eps-199-Freeze-&-Fix-Podcast

ListenNowWouldn’t it be great to come home from a busy day and know that dinner is already planned and prepped? 

With a little work ahead of time, meals can be A LOT easier and less stressful.

In this episode,  Erin and I talk about delicious meals and easy ways to have a freezer full of meals ready to go, including LOOP (Left Overs On Purpose) and the Six Chicks Freeze and Fix co-op strategy.

Mentioned in the episode: King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese

Soy Vey TeriyakiScreen Shot 2016-05-04 at 9.31.45 PM