Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Table Time

Some time last week, my daughter, Jessica was trying to coordinate a get-together with her friends before they left for college and a friend/previous youth leader/mentor.  They were discussing different places and days that they could meet.  Being who I am, I threw out the option of them all coming here!!  (ha-ha-ha)  At that moment, the plan was set into motion.

Fast forward to Monday and I realized that the plan that I instigated was for the next night.  Thankfully, I didn't have to do anything to get ready for this, as Jessica is as much of a gathering planner as I am and she was set in motion.  I've been working on an order that's due this weekend and literally stopped and cleaned up my mess less than an hour before anyone arrived.

Jessica had already made banana cupcakes and took off to the store for ingredients for spinach artichoke dip, chips, fruit for fruit salsa and ice cream for milkshakes.  I had a few fleeting thoughts about set up and decorating but they left my mind as quickly as the minuets left my day!!  Ha!  Over the years I have learned a very hard lesson, but a lesson that I am so glad to have learned: a gathering is only a gathering when you have people to gather -not cute decorations and table settings!  Even the food doesn't have to be a big deal! 

We cleared the table except for a pink cake plate with a burning candle on it.  All of the food went on the table in the containers that they came in, the friends gathered and the night was a success!  We ate until we were sick, we laughed until it hurt and we gathered past our bedtimes.  I don't know why we don't stop more often, even in the midst of our busyness, and just gather.  I'm always hoping that one day I will do that more often, that it will just become a way of life.  Sometimes I believe that if I change my location, it will just naturally happen, but I know that's not true.  What needs to change is my attitude, thoughts and perspective on what it means to gather.

I'm so drawn to the title "A Place to Gather" and yet I don't often create space for that in my life.  When I do, I fully cherish those moments, no matter how few and far between they may be.  I have to learn to not look to the future full of "if onlys" and look to right now and the moments that I have right in front of me.

I woke up to one mess of a kitchen, I couldn't see the bottoms of my sinks and there were dishes precariously perched on top of one another.  Counter space?  Forget about it!  As I forced myself to deal with the mess, I took charge of my thoughts and instead of grumbling about the mess, I relished in the memories of the night before. I thought of the faces that sat around my table, how my life has been impacted by each one, of how God is shaping and molding them and using their young lives to further His kingdom.  Dish by dish, I was thankful; thankful for each plate, each cup and utensil, each baking sheet and bowl, each food item that was prepared and purchased (man did we have some good eats), thankful for the young women that gathered at my table and thankful that God gave me a desire for gathering.

I only took one picture last night and it wasn't even thought out or staged.  Just a random shot of a messy table full of half eaten food and that was good enough.  Sometimes we need to keep these special moments just for ourselves and not worry about capturing every second for the world to see.

 A gathering of 8th graders and their small group leader and friend, Erika who is headed to serve in Ecuador for a year!

 I'm guessing that this was from a Mother's Day.

 A girls retreat gathering!  The weather didn't cooperate and our party was forced indoors!  Thank God for the lessons that I've learned.  The chaos of my home didn't bother me one bit!!

 A small, spontaneous gathering with one friend and whatever I had on hand!

 Another small gathering with a friend, last minute, I am sure!!

Big or small, if you put more of your heart and less of your stress/energy, you're guaranteed a sweet gathering!!  Here's to taking those moments captive and making the most of what you've got and even more of the people that have gathered in your life!!

Share with me:  Does hospitality come easily for you or is it a far off dream?  What are some of your go to pieces when gathering friends or family?  I'd love to hear from you!!!  Tell me about your table time!!

God Bless


  1. I love your heart for gathering friends and family together. Someday I am hoping that we will be able to open that shop where we can have a place for anyone and everyone to gather around table, relax with friends and just hang out when they want.

    You have such a talent with decorating and making people feel welcome. I love you bunches and look forward to making our dreams come true together.

    Love ya!!!

  2. Thank you honey <3 This blessed my heart - I love you and look forward to what God has next for us!!