Silence has reigned over my blog for the last week. It’s been a much-needed break indeed—a time to share and create wonderful memories with friends and family.

A lot of dishes were washed, pots and pans scrubbed, counters wiped down – again and again, as we entertained a lot! Instead of allowing my “poor me” attitude, (who doesn’t have a let-down feeling when the “party” ends?), I simply got a routine going that helped me be able to spend more time with my guests, and not feel resentful:

* Quickly get a load of dishes started in the dishwasher right before serving dessert
* At the end of the night, empty the dishwasher and get another load going right away
* It’s okay to end your night with not every dish cleaned or put away!
* Bring the kids in to help – bus the dishes, load, empty & put away (much will be done the next day)
* If one of your guests offers to help, let them!

I have often thought of how I can be like Martha – I can whip up a great meal and show true hospitality toward my guests – no problem! But when the mundane chores choke out what my main purpose is, causing me to miss the point of our gathering in the first place, I can get distracted.

I have learned a lot this last year through my own writings and reader’s comments on 4 Reluctant Entertainers! I’m reminded of why we gather. Why we go through all of the work to invite people into our homes – to get our house ready, to sometimes clean and even buy expensive food! It’s not that we don’t have anything better to do – it’s that we have a craving. A craving where food is used as a conduit toward the goal of knowing others more intimately!

The reason behind every deliciously cooked meal I created in my kitchen in 2007 was that I had an inner motivation. Through my Ten Commandments, I actually challenged myself to keep remembering, as hundreds of dirty dishes passed through my hands, that the importance of connecting with others is often the forgotten goal of entertaining.

So, please pass the dirty dishes!

Happy New Year 2008!!

(I’d love to hear of any entertaining goals you might have for this next year. And stay tuned for more exciting give-a-ways in 2008! One in particular will be a “canning” kit – with a helpful post of hints to follow. )

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