Open Your Home

Sundays are my day.  I simply slow down and spend my time with intention and true awareness. I guess I just enjoy each moment of the day since every other day is non stop hustle.  It’s what I call my spiritual Sunday, and I just started this path last September. Traditional mass became a chore as opposed to inspiring, and I knew it was time to find a new way to keep my faith fresh.  Each week I seek out a sign that will teach me a lesson. My plan is to share these experiences and lessons with you. Here is my latest …

Chicago’s Northwest side St. Patrick’s Day parade marches right past our block, and we’ve had a party for the last thirteen years. I love to entertain. I just love being around people and having a full house.  Come one, come all and make my house your own. Be comfortable, and by all means help yourself.

I have visions of how my house should look and how the party should run (double sided buffet, gorgeous bichon linens, matching serving dishes and of course, fresh floral centerpieces).  My background is event planning, and in my heyday, I worked with Chicago’s premier bank and partnered with the finest vendors planning high budget soirees. Remember, the 90’s when the sky was the limit and nobody worried about budgets. Now back to reality … my house is run down and well lived in with relaxed parents, four kids and a chubby dog and much to my chagrin, I have to work with a budget.  

There are a million reasons why having a party at my house won’t work.  My house was built in 1909 and the rooms are small and I tend to acquire big furniture.  Let’s just say that there is not a lot of elbow room. And honestly, I really don’t mind or notice the lack of decorating until the day before a party.  All of a sudden I notice everything wrong … my basement still isn’t finished (it’s Mark’s Sistine Chapel), pictures are not hung (I tell Allison that pics of Maddi are her), my kitchen cabinets are falling apart (old houses shift), clocks are not set to the right times (could explain why we are often late), will the house stay clean two days after our cleaning lady was here (not a chance) … I could go on and on.   Then I always dig deep, take a breathe, and remember the point is bringing people together to celebrate. I also mentally increase my budget so things are a little easier (catering vs. cooking) and pray for good weather since my yard is really big.

This year we had over 100 people stop by after the parade, and we counted 60 kids here at the same time.  The teenagers were shooting hoops and listening to music, the littles were playing on the swings, the boys were playing baseball in Miss Joan’s yard and all the sweet little girls were playing Barbies in my sunroom.  It all worked out perfectly. There were seats when you needed to sit and there was plenty of food for everyone (we even had vegetarian shepards pie). Our tried and true were in the house and we had new friends join us this year as well.  It was a hustle keeping up with the kids but I soaked it all in and took the time to stop and visit. Was it crowded, oh yeah, but it was a perfect sunny day and everyone had a good time (kids running wild and adults with a beer in hand). I was even able to get over not having fancy linens but you know I had fresh floral!  Trader Joe’s has the best flower section.

The lesson for me this day was perspective.   New friends asked to tour the house because they were in awe of the original woodwork and old doors.   They loved what Mark has done in the basement. They saw what I saw the first time I toured my house … it has a natural charm with great sunlight.  Another friend looked out at the backyard, and she said she could just feel the joy (I was feeling the kid chaos). Our cousin said that we had the most perfect house for parties … what?!.  You see, it’s all a different perspective.

We are all so hard on ourselves and tend to focus on the flaws and look past the positive.  

So open your home and have people over.  If there is someone there to judge your lack of decorating or dirty couch (it’s actually disgusting) then you probably don’t need them as a friend.  Life is about tradition and celebrations so invite your neighbors over and don’t worry about your dirty dishes. They will be there tomorrow.

My spiritual Sundays always bring me good food for thought.  Sometimes they show me that I need to adjust my thinking, shift a behavior, take action or be a little less hard on myself.

Sometimes my lesson will be deep and sometimes it will be a simple reminder to lounge all day because we deserve to rest and should never feel guilty.  Own that nap!


Michelle Arnold