by Sandy

Sandy Coughlin is an author, blogger, wife, and mom to three children. She lives in Oregon and loves to develop recipes, cook, and host dinner parties. Read more at Reluctant Entertainer.


The art of lingering

During the next three months, we’re all in this together—thinking about food, planning menus, coming up with guest lists, scheduling ourselves silly, spending too many hours on Pinterest for ideas on how to get the “best recipe” or plan the “perfect holiday party.”

For me this year, I want my focus to be simpler, and let me tell you why.

After our recent trip to Africa, my husband and I learned a lot about ourselves. We learned that, as important as time is, we do not want busy-ness to consume our lives.

We learned from the African people the blessing of un-hurriedness. It was a bit of a culture shock to us at first, but we relaxed and spent more time interacting with people, lingering around the dinner tables. We made new and lasting friends.

I saw a different side of hospitality that was well with my soul. We felt the tyranny of the clock fade away, seeing that people actually do not die if they show up late–sometimes really late–and that meals are never served in a hurry.

In some countries, lingering is a way of life, and it would be rude to rush through a meal.

Lingering: Lasting for a long time or slow to end.

I love that. It sounds so enjoyable, so important, like we will miss out on something supernatural if we don’t linger.

When you think about it, holiday meals take hours to cook, if not a couple of days.

We set the table with extra touches, place the food on the table, but then it happens: we sit down, say grace, everyone dives in, and the meal’s over! The art of lingering is completely lost.

Sometimes we spend more time creating our memories than actually enjoying them.

So, I’m starting to think differently about the holidays that are starting (somewhat unofficially) this month.

I don’t want to miss out because I’m too hurried, so I’m going to focus on these three tips:

1. Morning Time: Plan meals earlier in the day. Nourish our body and soul with a slow cooked meal. Start early so we have more time to linger at the end of the day. Let everyone know what time dinner is so we don’t miss out on the dinner experience.

2. Day Time: During more leisurely times, sit and talk or actually do nothing for another 10 minutes each day. Learn the importance of enjoying one another, or contemplating, relaxing, thinking, praying.

3. Evening Time: During mealtime, turn down the lights, ban electronics and cell phones from the room, forget about the dishes. Encourage our family or guests to linger over good conversation.

I’m challenging myself, and you, to savor a different rhythm than our culture these next few months. Instead, choose lingering mornings, 2-handed coffee hour get-togethers, gratitude in the forefront of our minds, relaxed dinnertimes and moments with our loved ones, saying no to some invitations (be discerning about what is best for our families), and lingering over mealtime experiences.

What tips have you learned that have made time more precious to you that help you keep your balance during holiday times?

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