Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Gift of Today and A Request

The past few years have made me realize more than ever that each and every day is a gift.  A life lesson that I wish I'd learned when I was much younger, but better late than never.

Growing up painfully shy, I wasn't one to jump into life with both feet.  It was more like sticking one toe in and testing the water before feeling comfortable enough to embrace it. 

The outgoing people who jump in there and grab life by the horns and "just do it" have always fascinated and amazed me.  I can't imagine what that feels like, but it sure looks like fun.

Thankfully, over the years the painful part has fallen by the wayside, but it seems shy will always be a part of who I am.  Something I work to overcome each day. 

Shyness may be one of the obstacles in my life, but it doesn't steal my happiness and joy for life.  It also doesn't prevent me from appreciating each and every day.  It does, however, still make me stick with "safe and comfortable" more often than I'd like.

An example of safe and comfortable :
I've gotten in the safe habit of entertaining a couple of times per year.  It's pretty much the same people (family members) and the menu has gotten very comfortable.  In other words, make what I know they like and I'm safe.  No danger that they won't like it.

The problem is I really want to step out of my comfort zone and invite some new people over for dinner.  I've been talking about doing it for years and every time I get close I chicken out.  Although I own about a hundred cookbooks, I go blank when I think of what to serve that will go over well.  I think I need a nudge from all of you out there who seem to entertain so comfortably and easily. 

I honestly can't believe I'm typing this  and I'd better hit publish soon or I know it will be deleted.  It's just that I am determined to overcome this little obstacle and soon.  So, what I'd like to ask is if you have a recipe that you serve company and it's always a hit, would you consider telling me about it? 

Hope this wasn't TMI for you today.


I heard on the news this morning that several states received snow.  Although it is 81 degrees here right now, it's been snowing cherry blossoms all afternoon.

Stepping way out of my comfort zone to hit PUBLISH now.


  1. Kim...I am certainly not one of the mega cooks out there, but I have learned the key to entertaining is to keep it simple within my abilities. I love to do lunches. I will usually have a fruit salad...everyone loves those, I am famous for my chicken salad that I serve on croissants...but it is sooo easy. I make some kind of veggie, usually a casserole type...and then dessert. Usually a chocolate dessert or apple. Those always seem to go over well.
    Do it! The memories are so much greater than the fear of doing it!!

  2. I used to be shy like day I read a quote that said; "Shyness is 90% selfishness." It shocked me so much but I started looking outside of myself. I started to talk to people more about them and really started to love other people. Loving them makes you and them comfortable.
    As for depends on if it is a lunch type thing or evening..I love to have pot luck dinners and I think people love to contribute and share what they do best. I have so many recipes, I wouldn't know where to start to tell you of a certain one. You can do have drawn me here, so I think that makes you a wonderful..interesting woman! ;D

  3. Oh, friend, I could have written this. We are two peas in a pod if ever there were. What I always defer to because the raves are so good is my lasagna with a wonderful loaf of bread and a delicious salad. Then I try to step out of my comfort zone for dessert. You didn't say what you usually make... I would say that you can't go wrong with the Pioneer Woman's pot roast either. That is one delicious meal.

  4. Hi Kim!

    You have no idea how I can so closely relate to what you're saying! I agonize over every single dinner party. In fact, I'm in the middle of planning one now that has 3 diabetics, one vegan & one gluten intolerant person. YIKES!!! I'm struggling right along with you.

    I will post one of my favorite recipes, chicken with artichokes, that I got when I took a cooking class. It has always been a big hit & is company worthy. Easily made ahead of time...very important to me!

    Gorgeous spring flowers you've shared with us. I am patiently waiting for mine to appear.


    p.s. I agree with Vee, too...lasagna is a great meal for a crowd & it, too, is entirely made ahead of time. Won't work for my gluten free menu next week, though. :/

  5. Hi Kim, I'm a new follower of yours and I am so glad I found your site through some of the lovely ladies. I didn't step out of my comfort zone until recently; I'm an empty nester who grew up very shy and withdrawn. I didn't begin blogging until last January. I believe it 's not so much about what to serve, it's more about giving your guests a safe haven where they feel loved and valued and it sounds like you have a very loving heart. You can never go wrong with lasagna! Hop on over for a visit, Hugs! :)

  6. Kim, I loved this post, photos and words! You made me smile! HUGS to you.

  7. Oh Kim, what gorgeous pictures!!! and you can get braver a little at a time! No need to totally change overnight, just a little at a time. You can do this...just keep it simple!


  8. I've always been the same way...just decide that's how you are and go with it! It has gotten better with age, I don't care what people think nearly as much.
    I'll be watching your comments for menu suggestions.

  9. Kim . .I am encouraging you to go for it. I think that so many people do not invite guests over anymore that when someone does call and says. .come on over. . .people could care less what they are served. Keep it simple. Make a simple soup a few days ahead to reheat for the first course. Make a strawberry spinach salad for the salad course. . and then roast some fresh potatoes and add some asparagus to the roasting pan for the last 10 mintues and serve with some panko crusted chicken breasts that also baked in the oven.
    Finish the meal with your favorite dessert. .and voila. .
    Enjoy the guests ..and they will surely appreciate your hospitality.

  10. I make a dish called poppyseed chicken that is easy and delish. I cooked roast in my crock pot which makes it easy and it is always tender and tasty. Taco salad is something that everyone seems to enjoy...and it practically makes itself! I'm sure you will make wise and wonderful choices. And I agree that what is really important to the people that you invite is that you invited them! Taking the time to include them in your life is a precious gift....THAT will make them feel special!

  11. Oh Kim..... I'm having to pinch myself to make sure it wasn't me whose written this post.
    I love having people over for dinner, but I worry and stress so much over the menu, and then give up. I'm always afraid to try something new and get out of my comfort zone.

    I agree....lasagna, salad and bread is a good menu. I have a chicken breast recipe that everyone loves, it has swiss cheese,cram of chicken soup, dry white wine, , herb seasoned stuffing mix and margarine... then I serve French Rice, Herbed carrots, and bread.
    Whatever you decide to serve, will be good I'm sure.

    The flowers and tree are GORGEOUS!!!
    I love spring!

  12. The only time I've been shy was when I was in school. I was a different person outside of school. I don't think anyone would put my name and shy together. : )
    My chili ALWAYS goes over well.
    Recipe is at my Meals Matter online cookbook.
    If you want the recipe and can't find it there let me know and I'll email it to you.
    Your pictures are beautiful. I love this time of year.

  13. I'm reading all the other comments here...and agreeing with what so many of them said. Just do it! No matter what you serve, your guests will be delighted, if your intention is to bless them rather than impress them. I've heard it said that 'hospitality is about inviting people into your home and letting them see God's love in your heart'...and I like that statement.

    And once you've had your guests in...tell us all about.

  14. Hi Kim, if I were having guests for dinner, I would fix lasagna, a nice salad, rolls and dessert of some sort. Probably something chocolate. I've made an easy ice cream dessert that got raves. It had an oreo cookie crumb crust, then layers of vanilla ice cream, hershey's chocolate syrup, cool whip and chocolate shavings on top. I froze this in a 9X13 baking dish. Let us know what you decide on! And good luck!

  15. Kim, just wanted to add that the chocolate shavings on top of the frozen dessert are better added before serving rather than freezing them, imo. Also, Julie Harward has a yummy sounding meat loaf recipe that might be good for company. Ok, think I'm done now. :D Have a good weekend!

  16. I can certainly relate to how you feel. I was very shy as a child and was until I was in my 30s. I still feel more comfortable in my own little world but I've gotten out in the world an awful lot. Guess being married to a Navy man helped that. Ha.

  17. Hi Kim, Stepping out of your comfort zone can be very scary, but once you do it, you will be so glad that you did! I know.... this is the voice of experience speaking here.

    I try and play it safe by serving food that I know will not fail. and have found that the people I invited enjoyed it, they were just happy to get to know us better. and like you we just recently decided to start by asking people in our church that we don't really know. It has been so much fun.

    I say step out and go for it,.. I have found you to be so gracious here, and I have learned so much from you.
    Sue you.

  18. I think that a lot of us feel like we can't have people over unless we cook something extraordinarily special. But the fact is that most people would just LOVE to come over and eat like they were part of your regular family.
    When I was a girl, I would invite my high school friend to come over on the day that my Mom made "refrigerator soup"... because she LOVED IT! You know... all the left overs from the entire week put into a tasty soup... The least fancy meal of the whole week. That was what my friend loved best!
    I think this taught me a lesson early on, that the most important thing about inviting people over was making them feel welcome at your table, like they belonged there with your family. That the meal was special just by them being there, not because of the type of food served.
    I like preparing simple, casual meals. Comfort food. A big pot of spaghetti with salad and crusty italian bread. BBQ chicken and a big bowl of potato salad. Chicken enchilladas and a big platter of veggie sticks. Chili and cornbread. etc...

  19. Visiting your blog today made me want to come to you to teach me photography and gardening. Every picture is so beautiful! I was thinking as I read your heartfelt words, that I would love to be invited to your home for just the privilege of walking through your outdoors, and to sit with you at your kitchen table. Believe me, I have learned from experience that simple is better, care and concern for your guests is what they will always remember. Food is important, but certainly not the most important. I must do preparations ahead of time so that I don't stress at the last minute. A few weeks ago I called and invited friends in for a Sunday evening meal. I then called the wonderful restaurant down the street and ordered our favorite Chinese food. We had so much fun sitting and laughing together. For dessert, I cut up fresh strawberries over a slice of angel food cake. It was so very simple and yet so much fun.
    Love how you shared your heart today. You are a beautiful lady!

  20. Hi Kim,
    How odd, that I just read this post. I just hit published on my own post and showed a couple of things that I served Fri. night.
    I am on the end and have way too much company at times.
    I've said before I run a B&B. I just don't get paid for it. lol
    It truly is rewarding and you make so many memories.
    It is a lot of work but my hubby pitches in and is so willing to help.
    Take the plunge..even if it's once a month or as Ceekay said try lunches. You can do this! I have great confidence in you.

  21. I'm glad you published this!! I don't entertain, so I can't share a fool-proof recipe with you. Just wanted to let you know that I understand the shyness issue.
    One of my dear friends, who entertains a lot, says: "it's just food". Said by someone who has a lot of entertaining under her belt!
    Good luck - keep us posted!

  22. I love to cook and enjoy having friends over...but don't do it very often lately! The easiest thing I can think of to serve is a BIG pan of lasagna. It's something that can be assembled ahead of time...along with a big salad and some garlic toast or rolls. Not as many dishes to try to time at the last minute! I make home made pizzas for guests...but that's not as easy to do and talk at the same time! heehee! When should I be there? I'll bring dessert...sugar free! lol ♥

  23. It looks like Vee and I are competing over whose lasagna is best! lol We have the same meal planned! ♥♥♥

  24. Hi Kim,
    You know that us Aussies just love
    a good BBQ or Barbie as we say it!
    That way the boys can do some cooking too. Lots of fresh fancy salads and good weather is all it takes. Yes, make it lunch or brunch
    time for more fun.
    I think invite your friends and some new ones because it is nice to
    meet new people and make new friends. They will all enjoy the company just as you are. Uniquely
    you! You will find plenty to talk
    about and laugh about.
    We have all had to overcome shyness
    throughout our lives. Just take it
    one step at a time. Let the true
    you do all the shining for you!
    All the best,

  25. Kim, you have magnificent shots on flowers. I really enjoy looking at them. And if you don't mind, please may I copy some and post into my Face Book?

    Thank you.


Your comments are welcome and appreciated.
I will do my best to answer any questions here in the comments section.