Day 31. Stress-Free Entertaining: A Grace-Filled Ending!

The beauty of this 31-Day Series that I was a part of, inspired by The Nester and these wonderful bloggers, is that we all shared a different kind of hospitality message. If you have followed along, you will know exactly what I mean.

Nester talked about seizing the day – every day – in the many seasons of life. She has given a month’s worth of tips for taking our messiness and turning it into something beautiful in our homes. I love Nester’s wisdom, as she talks about this season of raising her boys. I can relate because I now have 3 teens, and only a couple months ago we sent our first son off to college.

The home is here to serve us. To teach us. I don’t want to lose out on embracing each season of their childhood. I hope I can recognize it and revel in it. -The Nester, Nesting Place

Darcy has rocked my world with her photography lessons. I wish I had more time to implement them, but I’ve encouraged her all along to put these 31 Days into book form. She shared amazing tips and resources and I love her attitude toward photography.

There’s just no telling why people fall in love with the images they do. It’s emotional, it’s memorable, it’s the experience… it’s definitely much more than the sum of f-stops and shutter speeds. -Darcy, Life With My 3 Boybarians

Emily has shared 31 days of living simply. Fabulous posts full of wisdom and insight. Here’s a quote that stood out for me.

As busy as we can make ourselves feel, or sometimes as busy as we want to seem to others, there is nothing more important than just making time. For a friend. For a daughter. For someone who wants you and needs you for something. There is always something else you can do, somewhere else you can be. We all get the same amount of time each day. If we say we don’t have the time, what we really mean is that we don’t want to make the time. Because if you can’t make it for one thing, it means you made it for something else. Something else took priority. Today, choose to make the time. Make time for yourself. Make time for someone else. Make the time for something you’ve been putting off. I doubt you’ll regret it. – Emily, Remodeling this Life

Kendra is amazing. Every single post hit home with me as she wrote about her family and the inspired table. Because I love to talk about food and what happens around our dining table, my favorite (amongst many!) post of Kendra’s is something I have never written about on my blog. And that is sharing food (bites) with family members. Sharing the flavor with one another. We’ve always done this, but intentionally?

Setting the expectation to share now will encourage everyone to try new flavors later… and just be plain nicer to each other. -Kendra, My First Kitchen

I love how Jen is so real with her 31 Days to More with Less, with some incredible posts on money and home management. She has shared a variety of insights but her honesty here is perfect for most women, and with the holidays ahead.

Realizing that you can’t do it all frees one up to experience the moment. -Jen, Balancing Bedlam and Beauty

Melissa is so inspiring (thus her blog!) but the post that jumped out for me during the 31 Days of Autumn Bliss was when she talked about our homes being “good enough” or not being “good enough. Day #15 was it for me!

There is a time when I need to slow myself down long enough to find contentment with what I already have, EVEN if I don’t like it (my home). I have seasons when I make myself declare my home is “good enough,” even if it is just good enough for now. I use those regular self-imposed times of “no time consuming improvements” to help myself focus on other priorities in life. -Melissa, The Inspired Room

And last to speak on this 31st Day is Emily. Which in a way ties in to entertaining and becoming a gracious hostess. Emily’s Day #7 sums it up. It’s in the art and the day to day living that we find and receive and live out grace. For me, as a hostess, I think of being gracious when situations or even relationships go bad. How do you react? What is your heart saying? What are your words? Are you extending yourself to others, even when you do not feel like it? What about when you are afraid to reach out? What does grace feel like when you are forced to confront? Day by day, Emily walks us through something very beautiful.

The opposite of fear is life, and grace is the gift that makes it possible to exchange one for the other. – Emily, Chatting at the Sky

I know today is Halloween. And it’s a Sunday. And I wonder who will even read my closing “31-Day” post, but maybe it’s just for me. I went back through my friends’ blogs for 31 Days and I wept. I loved the beauty and the authenticity and the inspiration that flowed from each lady – for 217 days. It makes me sad to end, but I’m happy for the new month ahead.

Starting tomorrow, the beautiful month of November, I have some posts in mind on thankfulness and gratitude and even some yummy Thanksgiving recipes. But I’d love to hear from you what you’d like to read here on RE? Help for your Thanksgiving Day dinner? What about inspirational and honest posts, too, that deal with relationships? I know that to some, practicing hospitality over the holidays can be very painful.

Please let me know what you’d like to read over the next two months?

Thank you again for joining in with me and my friends in October. I’m so happy to have met so many new readers! And if you have my new book, on page 141 is my Chicken Chili recipe. Make it up for your family, or feed it to a crowd tonight!

It’s an easy and delicious Halloween meal and everyone loves it!

   

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22 Responses to “Day 31. Stress-Free Entertaining: A Grace-Filled Ending!”

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    Tara G. — October 31, 2010 @ 1:07 am

    I’m reading! I’m home from church with a little boy who wasn’t feeling too hot yesterday, and we’re about to sit down and read his “God’s boys” book. You all did a wonderful job this month- I was thinking earlier that blogging can be such a useful tool if used in the proper balance and how important it is to “surround” ourselves with people {bloggers} who reflect God’s wisdom and grace to us. So as far as what I’d like to read- it doesn’t really matter what topic you choose. I trust I’ll leave encouraged. Blessings!

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    Emily@remodelingthislife — October 31, 2010 @ 3:53 am

    Sandy, I love you and I love your words and inspiration. I have so many posts starred in my reader to come back to. You are one amazing lady and I feel so fortunate to have been part of this with you. You’ve made me a tad weepy this morning.

    xoxo

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    Bobbie — October 31, 2010 @ 4:14 am

    Your posts have inspired me to start using again the gifts God has given me. I have the gift of hospitality along with encouragement, which hasn’t been used in awhile (that’s the gift of hospitality). I have started having people from church over again as a way to build community. These times together have blessed me so much. I forgot how much I like serving others. Thank you!

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    Lori H — October 31, 2010 @ 5:20 am

    Sandy, thanks for all your time and effort in posting for 31 days in a row! I have so enjoyed the unfolding story of entertaining. As for the next few months, I would love to see some menu ideas and hostess gift ideas. Recipes are great but I really need ideas on how to put them together. I hope to be able to purchase your book before too much longer as I am sure that will help me out immensely with the holidays coming.

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    Elizabeth S. — October 31, 2010 @ 6:29 am

    Sandy,

    What a beautiful post to start the day. You are so gracious in your posting and in the purposeful way in which you wrote about each of your fellow bloggers. I have truly enjoyed these last 31 days. As Lori said above I would love some hostess gift ideas and just more of your regular posts which I have enjoyed for some time now.

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    Elizabeth — October 31, 2010 @ 6:37 am

    Thank you, Sandy, for a month of wonderful blogs. :) I found you (and the other wonderful bloggers) after first reading Jen’s. Balancing Beauty and Bedlam. Jen lives locally and was featured in our community newspaper. Love her blog!

    I have a shortcut to RE on my desktop and it’s first on my list while I drink my morning coffee. :) You are a true inspiriation. Thank you for writing!

    Looking forward to November’s RE blogs!

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    Tracie B — October 31, 2010 @ 7:52 am

    I am reading too! I’m also home from a church with a sick one. I enjoyed everyone’s writings in the 31 day series. I got some great ideas and was inspired to be a better wife, mother, neighbor, and community citizen. My first project idea is from Melissa and it’s going to be to number my stairs. Love it! Thank you so much for all the time and effort you all put into this. I’m sure the blessings will abound!

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    Lisa — October 31, 2010 @ 8:51 am

    I’m reading, too. This month of posts has been wonderful. Thanks so much for your words of wisdom and encouragement. What an inspiration! Thank you!

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    Vickie — October 31, 2010 @ 11:03 am

    I have been inspired, encouraged and motivated by this 31-day-series and the writings of your readers. It’s been the catalyst to move me out of the “I don’t think I can do it” thinking and into a whole different mindset. I plan on making up for all the wonderful times I’ve missed out on because of that silly thinking!! THANK YOU!
    I like the suggestion of posting ideas for hostess gifts and would also love to see some ideas for after-dinner games. We had great fun at our recent gathering by asking each guest to write down something no one knew about them. I put the slips of paper in a basket and we all pulled one out later in the evening to read and guess “who”. Lots of laughs and and interesting conversation resulted. Any other ideas?

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    Kim — October 31, 2010 @ 11:06 am

    I am here reading the last day of your 31 as I have been every other. LOVE your book, love your blog and love you wonderful ideas.

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    Dining Delight — October 31, 2010 @ 11:16 am

    I’m home sick from church this morning and reading this! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your 31 posts – ran across your blog by accident halfway through the month. As someone who loves to entertain, your posts have been very interesting and informative. I’ve ordered your book off Amazon.com and even got an extra copy to give to my daughter as a Christmas gift!

    DD

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    Sher — October 31, 2010 @ 11:28 am

    Thank you for spreading the gift of graciousness extended to all the “others” in our lives.
    Still need help with the whole conversation thing, So more posts on the conversation starters, redirecting conversation how -tos that you mention in Chapter seven of your wonderful book. Four introverts in our family can sometimes even make for a quiet dinner time around the family table! Guess I need the beginners class on conversation.

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    Jackie — October 31, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

    Thanks Sandy for the 31 day posts. They have been fun and insightful and I have looked forward to each one. I have pondered on some things, learned some new things and appreciated the wisdom shared. I enjoyed your thoughts and shared quotes today. I had to copy a few down to remember for later! Thanks again for all you and your blog friends do.

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    Rachel S — October 31, 2010 @ 12:30 pm

    I just want to say thank you for these past 31 days. I’ve learned so much and I thoroughly enjoyed your posts and the posts of the other gals. They were encouraging and inspiring words for me and I hope I’ve grown from them. I will need to come back to these posts and remind myself of them often. It all comes back to a matter of the heart – of having God’s heart for others, of sharing with them, loving them and encouraging them. God bless you!

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    Gwyn Rosser @ The Pink Tractor — October 31, 2010 @ 3:22 pm

    I’m reading! I haven’t missed a one. It has been a very fun and encouraging and inspiring 31 days. I’ve loved it!

    Thanks !

    Gwynie Pie

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    afarmgirlsdabbles — October 31, 2010 @ 6:24 pm

    Lovely, lovely recap! This was a beautiful series. Thanks!

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    Crystal Faulk — November 1, 2010 @ 4:57 am

    I am so glad that I found your blog…and your book! I hosted a Halloween dinner with my brother and his family (fiancee and three kids) last night. Things certainly weren’t perfect. My house wasn’t as clean as I would’ve liked…there was a few issues with the menu… but I kept thinking about the fact that hospitality isn’t about me…my house didn’t have to be perfect. I didn’t apologize for anything, which is something I have always done when I perceived things that weren’t perfect. Ya know what?! My brother’s fiancee said she loved my house!!! I couldn’t believe it! I’m so glad that I invited them over! We had a great time. We took the kids Trick or Treating after dinner. My brother’s fiancee had never been Trick or Treating before so this was a memorable day for her…and I got to help with that. According to her, she had a great evening.
    Thanks for everything!!! :o) I look forward to growing in this area. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, but never felt like I could. Your words of wisdom have been a blessing to my soul!

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    kirstin — November 1, 2010 @ 10:40 am

    I love everything you write (C: I really enjoyed the last 31 days too, though I didn’t always get to read everyone’s posts every day. What a pleasure it was. I’m sure I’ll go back and read some again.

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    Debbie Smith — November 1, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

    Thank you so much Sandy!! I felt so blessed by reading this everyday

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    Guerrina — November 1, 2010 @ 1:33 pm

    Thank you for the month of posts! Some made me chuckle, some cry…all worth my time reading. Though fairly new to your blog, I find encouragement here in several areas and thank you for that! I love to entertain and though my house is never “perfect” by my vision, I’ve come to realize I have a great group of friends and relatives who care more about getting together than looking for a dust bunny in a corner. Good food brings us all together with belly-rolling-can’t-catch-your-breath laughter and even tears at times!

    My dining room seats 6-8 “comfortably” and I’m having 17-20 for a sit down dinner on Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My plan this year? Keep it simple. Don’t need 10 side dishes, soup, etc. The mainstays (turkey, mashed potatos/gravy, sweet potato casserole, green beans, rolls and then a few pies for dessert) will work just fine. By the time we sit down to eat, I will be very grateful for whatever chair I fall into while I listen to the contented sounds of people enjoying dinner prepared especially for them! Oh, and beverage? Well, I’m thinking Grandma’s punch bowl is a very handy thing! :)

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    Lisa — November 1, 2010 @ 6:02 pm

    Thank you. You have extended a gracious hand and I appreciate all 31 of your posts. Thank you for your time, energy and lessons.

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    Kathy — January 13, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

    So – one topic I was anxious to read about was not included. I entertain quite a bit, and my concern is that we very-very-very seldom get reciprocated. Why is that so? I believe we are liked and provide good company, but sometimes I feel that maybe I do such a good job that others are afraid they can’t live up to one of my expectations. Has that happened to anyone else?

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