How Do You Prepare Yourself For Family Gatherings?

Summertime opens its doors wide for get-togethers, gatherings, reunions, and all manner of crowd pleasers.

We're no exception in this neck of the woods.

I completely avoid the word entertaining.  Yuck.  No one's trying to impress anyone around here.  We just want everyone to kick off their shoes {the kiddos know to toss them in the big wicker basket so grandma doesn't trip}, relax, and enjoy whatever's happening.

In recent years, Father's Day has become one of those times where relations from far and near come together for an extended weekend and this is where they land.

I love it.

But this introvert learned long ago that not only do I need to have clean sheets on the beds and extra food in the fridge, but I do well to ready my soul for the joy-filled noise and ceaseless activity and rollicking good times that are to come.

As Emily Freeman oft' says, 'to make space for your soul to breathe.'

This works for me ~

I clear my calendar.
I purposely create a large margin of white space around myself a week or so before everyone starts arriving.  I say 'no thanks' to meetings, appointments, and activities that don't need my attendance or involvement.

I pull back online. 
I might do a bit of writing but you won't find me running around.  I'll see you later.

I stock the cupboards well ahead of time.
The final shopping trip will pretty much be fresh produce, meat, breads, and dairy.

I clear away the random tchotchkes from counters and tables.
We need every spare inch of free space we can find.

I save the heavy duty cleaning for after everyone has departed.
My philosophy has morphed into a 'why clean twice?' attitude.  Yes, the bathroom is scrubbed and the sheets are clean, but I save any other cleaning for after the last car has departed.

I let everyone around me roll up their sleeves in the kitchen.
I used to think I had to be in charge of each meal.  No more.  Everyone around here is probably alot more capable than I am.  I let them do their thing.  And no one arrives at the door empty-handed.  I'm not that gracious.

I find pockets of solitude in the midst of it all.
I'll sneak away for a little devotional time and prayer.  Or I'll head to my room for some extra time in the morning or at night to decompress.  No one needs to have me around every second.

I leave myself plenty of quiet space after.
My husband and I join forces for a huge cleaning marathon when all is done.  The kitchen, laundry, floors, bathrooms get attacked with all our might.

And then we nap.  Sit and quietly process all the joy and madness.  And then nap some more.

Let's talk about how you prepare yourself for family gatherings ... I'd love to hear what works for you!

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