Rusty and Out of the Groove!

Recently someone said to me, “I used to entertain all the time (and loved it), but now I’m so busy and I just can’t get back into it!”

Sound familiar? Are you feeling rusty and out of the groove?

I, too, have experienced this. It’s like walking on uncharted territory when a lot of time has passed in between having guests over. I have to think more about what I’m doing, when I prepare to host again, whereas if I entertain more often, it just comes naturally. I get the routine down and know “what comes next,” as I prepare, cook and serve!

Here are some tips to help get you out of the “rusty spot” you’re in:

1. Decide who you want to connect with – and plan a meal together. Get a date on the calendar!

2. Delegate!! At the time you invite your guests, split the meal, leaving yourself with the main dish, and maybe one other course.

3. Come up with an easy main course dinner that doesn't stress you out!

4. Think ahead! Two – three days ahead write out your shopping list and what needs to get done.

5. Put aside any expectations that you have on yourself that are not healthy. Like trying to do too much – or make your meal too fancy or complicated. Conquer fear and perfectionism (read my post on fear here) and go for it!

Did you know that we become slaves to whom we seek approval from?

If we have in our minds that the only way we are going to entertain is if our house looks perfect (put aside the magazines, television shows, or even (gasp!) blogs that show perfect, over-the-top incredible homes), we will fail every time.

Or we can think we have to cook some gourmet dish (again, viewed on television or read about in a magazine), and then we fall into the trap of “what will they think – will it turn out?” We then become slaves to a very unhealthy attitude toward hospitality.

We need to keep our hospitality gifts ablaze! To not be shy with them, but bold, loving and sensible!

Feel free to share with me, if you have found yourself in one of these “rusty spots” – or better yet – share your experience of how you got out!

(Above photo: Our “rusty” wheelbarrow, used in our first garden 16 years ago!)

(What happens during the wintertime in the Coughlin home, with all the pears that we canned this past summer? Besides eating them, they go in protein shakes in the morning, along with flax oil -YUM! A perfect way to start off the morning!! You can read about canning pears, here. )


Tara said...

Indeed, I am very rusty. Your blog has me thinking it's time to move out of my comfort zone. Thanks for helping to get the wheels turning.

My Grandkids ROCK said...

Loved you blog. Added you to my favorites. I just started this blogging so everything is all new to me. Pam

Myrna said...

Trying to find compatible dates with the people I'm wanting time with is the biggest challenge, sometimes the frustration will make me want to give up, but perserverance does pay off. I'm an old girl scout, so I try to follow the "make new friends but keep the old" motto alive. Nurturing relationships needs to be deliberate. It's too important.
So I'll echo your advice Sandy. Make up your mind, set a date, keep it simple, enlist help, focus on the right stuff.

"It's not what's on the table that matters, but who's on the chairs"

When the list we have of "who we'd like to have over" is too long. I pair groups up. This has been very fun and it's fun to watch my friends become friends.

Nadine said...

It so true about being rusty when it comes to entertaining. You have great suggestions. I'm totally tracking with you on this one. I find the best way to get back in the grove is to make it easy and relaxing.

e-Mom said...

You have an amazing blog here. When can I come over for dinner?!

BTW, I have two similar books by Crosby: "Now We're Talking" and also "Now We're Talking For Kids."
They are true gems.

Just stopped by from Sue's Praise and Coffee. So nice to meet you.


e-Mom @ Chrysalis

Nunnie's Attic said...

I wished you lived closer Sandy! I'd invite you over for sure! I love entertaining. So the invitation is out there. If you are ever traveling near the Pittsburgh area, come on over to my house - my house a come on!


melissa @ the inspired room said...

Hi Sandy,
I've definitely been there, rusty and out of the groove. My best remedy for being rusty is that I've figured out my style so entertaining happens more easily (but still not often enough due to how busy we get).

Over the years that I've been married (21 of them) I've come to know my truest self. In the early years I thought I had to cook gourmet meals because that is what most of my friends did. Reality is, I don't like to cook! I LOVE to create ambience and make the home cozy and comfortable for people -- that I love to do. But, people expect food when you invite them over!

So, I had to come to grips with either never entertaining or figuring out how to entertain in a way I could manage and not dread. And I had to come to grips with who I am and what my style is. And I have a few different ways I entertain that all fit with my style.

I have make your own pizza nights, I have ice cream sundae parties and I have potlucks. I have Costco parties. I have brunches (egg dishes and coffee cakes). And if it is a fancier event or holiday I can even manage a simple roasted turkey breast and side dishes. I have a great salad I make almost every party. I don't experiment too much with new dishes because I almost always fail. :-)

Ok, have I talked enough? Guess I need to do my own blog post!

Happy weekend!

Anonymous said...

e-mom, those titles are intriguing!

Sandy, I have gotten rusty in the area of: inviting people into my home I don't naturally like, or whom I find difficult, or a lot of work.

I am challenged by Jesus' parable in Luke 14 where He says "when you give a feast, do not invite your friends ... but rather those who cannot repay". That is the true hospitable heart of God, and not just entertaining, and it is in short supply in my life these days.

deb meyers

Julie said...

Have I ever told you that pears are my favorite fruit? I love that you can them and have them all year.

AND - I am a smoothie fanatic. I usually drink one every day, either for breakfast or lunch. Now even my daughter likes smoothies and usually we split what I prepare. I like to use frozen blueberries or strawberries...but I'll bet your pears taste fabulous in one!

~j~ said...

Great encouragement Sandy. I would definitely consider myself rusty in that we used to have something going on every weekend vs maybe once a month now. I miss those large boisterous evenings and hear the "calling" getting louder every day. Thanks for the great ideas and reminders. It's definitely helping inspiring me to get back in the saddle again.

An Ordinary Mom said...

I do feel rusty and out of the groove and often times I feel like I have different seasons in my life. But, that doesn't mean I need to neglect my friendships.

By the way, I think we have the same blender :) !!

Diane @ A Watered Garden said...

I always love coming to your blog-your posts are "right on", inspiring and thought provoking. Our hospitality tends to go in cycles...and I'm alittle rusty right now. As far as the fruit smoothie department goes...I'm addicted to those and create one every morning for breakfast! Especially since Hubby and family bought me a Vita Mix Blender for my birthday a few months back!!

Lis Garrett said...

One of the hardest parts for us is simply getting the date on the calendar and before you know it, months have passed. If we can schedule a time, everything else falls into place.

Elise said...

Okay, first of all- pear and flax meal protein shakes? Yummy! Can I come over? :) Just in the mornings...

And I love the reminder to put the date on the calendar. So often, we're paralyzed by that first step- at least I am. I feel guilty, wonder if they feel like I'm ignoring them... just call and plan- even if you give them several dates to choose from and the ball is in their court!

Thanks for the great anti-rusting agents! ;)