Monday, October 31, 2011

Sharing our Unplugged Sundays

Written by Kimberly

In the midst of our huge life change of moving from Denver to rural Idaho, we were working on endless projects around the clock and seven days a week.  No one gives you a day off when you work for yourself and are trying to revive a severely neglected homestead.  After a few months, I knew I needed a change.  I began to organize my week to make Sundays easier and more restful. 

It took awhile to get my Sweetheart on board, but he is now.  Around that time, Unplugged Sunday started up.  It spoke to my heart.  I shared it with him and it is now a part of our week.

Being in a new place, there a so many new neighbors we want to get to know better.  When Sweetheart and I were discussing what we wanted our Sundays to look like I told him I wanted to include having guests to dinner at least once a month on a Sunday evening.  Part of me would love to say that we would have company every Sunday night, but I know that that would quickly become too much.  Once a month feels manageable.  

Of course, we always try to keep an open door and be ready to set an extra spot at the table whenever needed.  And around here, that is a good way to live.  There are often folks that just drop by without warning and I like to be able to make everyone feel at home.

I used to try to have everything perfect for company.  I wanted them to enjoy themselves and to have everything be just right.  That perfectionism made for trouble.  I would take on way too much and try to do too much that by the time the guests arrived, everything might look perfect, but I was a wreck.
Now, I still like to make everything as nice as I can, but my attitude has changed and everyone is happier for it.  It is so freeing!  I have learned to plan simple and delicious food.  To serve what I can easily make and enjoy making has made such a difference.
To make it work to have company on Sundays and still have a restful day for me does take a bit of forethought.  I try now to have everything cleaned up on Saturdays whether or not company is coming.  I also am prepping as much of the Sunday supper on Saturday as I can.

I am choosing meals that can be made in advance and don't require a lot of last minute details.  Especially this time of year, a big slow cooker of soup or stew is a wonderful thing.  A salad and some fresh-baked bread served along side makes it easy for me to visit with my company as soon as they arrive.  I like to either have dessert already completed, or just set to slip in the oven when we sit down to eat.

Whether or not we are having guests I still enjoy setting a beautiful table and using my pretty things for serving.  I change our centerpieces and dining room decorations with the seasons using whatever is growing, or I can forage at that time.  Most meals this time of year are eaten by candlelight as well and I usually have instrumental music playing in the background all day.  With three little kids, it is soothing and even the kids  notice if I don't light the candle, or turn on the music.  These details only take a few minutes and make such a difference.

I believe that beauty refreshes our spirits.  I want our home to be a lovely, loving and welcoming place for my family and anyone else who comes our way.  Now that my attitude has changed about practicing hospitality versus entertaining, I can truly say that I strive to bless, not impress.  Unplugging for the day and being fully present with my family and friends all seem to flow together for me. Being mindful to include others in our unplugged days just feels right.
Here are some ideas I have had to make this a success:
  • Be intentional.  Invite people a few weeks in in advance.
  • Keep the guest list small and manageable.
  • Plan simple meals that can be prepared early with few last minute tasks.
  • Do clean up the day before. 
  • Enjoy simple beauty.
  • Focus on your guests, not on appearances.
What are some ways you share your unplugged days with those around you?

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