hostess with the mostess · Introspection · me · Toastmasters


Hi kids,

Don’t ever promise more than you can deliver. There’s a universal business saying “Under-promise and over-deliver.” That way you can make your customer very happy. Amazed, actually. (As Mark Twain once said, “Always do the right thing. It will gratify some and astonish the rest.”)

When 2011 started, I made just two New Year’s Resolutions – Be Healthy* and Be Hospitable (which translated means “throw more dinner parties and don’t be such a hermit.”) But every January when we turn the calendar over to a bunch of shiny blank pages, I’m seized with the urge to do more, accomplish more, make this the year I GET IT ALL DONE!!! Whew.

So naturally I went a little nuts in January with the hospitality. I threw a drop-in Jan. 1, then right after that a dinner party on Jan. 14 – a Friday, mind you, and I work for a living! I made plans to throw a dinner party every two weeks thereafter. I was busy drawing up guest lists for parties into March. I had a spreadsheet with guests, menu ideas, notes on food allergies, notes on previous menus so I didn’t serve the same thing twice to a guest, etc., etc. (On Jan. 1 when I thought about serving the same meal twice to a guest, I thought, how gauche. Now looking back over the whole Excel mania, I think, how bonkers.)

The dinner party frenzy has slowed down. Specifically, it has come to a halt. Why, Aunt Jim? Well, since you ask, while I was aiming to be the hostess with the mostess, I also was going into overdrive to achieve several different educational goals in Toastmasters. I’ve joined two clubs in addition to the club I belong to at work and agreed to be a club coach for yet another club. I’m going to be giving four speeches in a three-week time frame. (One of which involves memorizing Elizabeth I’s “Golden Speech” and interpreting that.) Oh, and I agreed to help assist at a Toastmasters training event February 26 by chairing a volunteer team.

Then there was that insurance certification class at work, which I signed up for in November thinking that the February exam was a LONG WAY OFF and I had plenty of time to study. (I passed on Feb. 11!!)

So, as you can see, I’ve been a tad overcommitted. Just a tad. But finally, finally, I had the backbone to say “No” to a request. A friend in our Adult Bible Fellowship at church asked me to serve on the leadership team as the outreach chairman. I would have loved to have done that; after all – outreach – that’s hospitality, isn’t it? But it would have involved going to five additional meetings a month – plus more tasks! I just couldn’t do that after all the other commitments I’ve made. What made it worse for me was this was a request to do something for my church. Ah, the guilt! But you can get so busy doing church work (no matter how well-intentioned) that you neglect your own inner spiritual and prayer life. So I found the guts to say no.

Now, I just have to work on my prayer life.

*An entirely different discussion for another time.

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