But this afternoon felt like old times and we gathered together two sets of friends; one friendship old (we're talking over 20 years old!) and one just begun last year. It's a beautiful thing to see parts of your world 'meshing'....and to still be joined by powerful commonalities. Ya know...the good old fashioned dinner party mind set!
But back to the beginning of our thoughts...we had no grand scheme for tonight, I had no menu, heck I didn't even have any meat defrosted. We just knew we wanted to get some friends together. It felt like a MUST. So with everyone coming I toasted sugared pecans in the oven, stewed up a meaty red sauce, and baked an apple cobbler.....I can't begin to describe how foreign that sentence was to type....those just aren't ME things! I consider recipes as mere suggestions...and cooking is a chore...not a joy. Though I must add here that my husband would like me to note how well we worked TOGETHER ;) ........me on the entrees......him with the appetizers! His utter joy at prepping together comes from our time spent at this REALLY encouraging blog...check it out, but get ready for CONVICTION!
So his hard work took the Above and turned it into the Below.....Yummy!
So even if cooking isn't my strong point, by the grace of God I LOVE to get people together....so we 'wrustled' up some grub and gorged ourselves on PLENTY o food. Oh yeah, unlike this time there was ENOUGH food! Ha ha!
We spent the rest of the night playing Dominoes......or Mexican Train to be specific....
Choa, choa (that's choo choo in Spanish!! ;) And our friends from different 'compartments' of our lives, got along beautifully. (Though I fear I kept one of them up too late ;) She was a trooper just the same!) The best part is how all 9 kids got along SO great! They played beautifully together for over 5 hours without a single sad sound! All but the two year olds will be playing baseball together soon so it was a fun orientation for them!
But I'm leaving the best part for last.....while we were putting dishes in the washer, my hubby leaned on my shoulder and said, "Remember how we said we'd do this all the time?" Yeah, I remembered, and I see now how I get caught up in the busyness of life,......ugh I get so selfish about my alone time. I would rather whip out some fish sticks and rice, and pop around a blog or do some craft, than ready my house for company, cook, and clean up afterwards.
I know I complain a lot here on this blog....but I'm just keeping it real people! I'm sure you've turned a blessing into a chore once or twice in your life....right? But REALLY....friends are who make it all worthwhile! (I totally blitzed on getting photos of actual people...but here are their beautiful grins from previous occasions....)
So back to my hang up with entertaining....God's been speaking to me LOUD and CLEAR! This morning the study was in Titus and it wasn't even a major part of the text, but it jumped out at me.....
Paul is writing about the qualities needed in those placed in leadership. And really, if you think about it, we're ALL leading somebody.....a friend, our kids, etc.........This verse stuck out to me:
Titus 1:8 ...he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.
They MUST be hospitable......ACK! ..........just the fact that Jesus had it written down tells me that He KNEW we'd turn hospitality into a chore. But when my heart is in the right place it will be like tonight.....a complete pleasure, a flood that fills the hearts of others and overflows to rejuvenate my soul! (oooo Jarrod is going to have a field day with that line...he thinks I'm SO dramatic online!) But really....it's a joy to be surrounded by the noise, to share triumphs and prayer requests over dinner, to form new bonds in this 'family!' And I'll say that with drama intended!
So I'm sitting here wrestling with my issues...it's not that I don't like to entertain, I'm just too disorganized to enjoy it. And if you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know that that is a theme for me this year.....my lack of organization..... Man! When will I learn how many things would be better if I got my act together here at home!
But if you glance back to Titus -there it is.......I actually told Jarrod that I wanted it taken out of my Bible...I mean really first I'm burdened by the thought of needing to be more hospitable but now you're adding: self-controlled, AND disciplined?!?!? Do you see it at the end of the verse? Double Ack!
Can you believe that something as simple as throwing together a dinner party could be SO profound! ;)
Jarrod and I are back on our mission to be open door hosts....not worried about the 'what' or the how, or the dirt or the clutter, the budget or the planning.....and it's reflective of where we are as a couple.....facing forward...ready to work together again. We were in a rut, too frustrated or preoccupied with life to be able to work alongside each other.....but we're back! Oh, it's the little things God that make my heart happy!
Thanks for the lesson, the friends, the time and space to make it all happen....and for your Truth God! We NEED hospitality, discipline, and to simply remember to LOVE what is good.
Nights like this are just plain GOOD!