…but a picture of a pile of dishes seemed appropriate tonight as I think about the last couple days, given that this is actually my first opportunity to sit and think!
It seems to me that no matter how far out on the calendar an event is planned (take getting together with friends you haven’t seen in a few years as a convenient example), that event can come up on you suddenly. I found myself pressured for time over the last few days to plan a menu, start cleaning, and squeeze in as much homeschooling as I could as Saturday quickly approached.
Part of the time crunch is due to the fact that we host small groups in our home on Friday nights and this week was my week for snack. I “cheated” a little and served ice cream sundaes in plastic cups so that I had more time to prepare for Saturday, but the cups were a cheery red and I had all kinds of fun toppings put out in mismatched vintage glass bowls.
So this morning found me once again pondering whether “all this is worth it”…a few days of planning, grocery shopping, cooking and baking, cleaning and organizing, and the constant reminders to the children to keep picked up after themselves. As I baked an apple tart, assembled a gourmet salad, and stirred some loaded baked potato soup on the stove, I thought about how much more enjoyable fellowship with friends seems to be when it’s over good food. A familiar ritual of lighting candles, making beds, opening blinds to let light stream in through clean windows, disinfecting bathrooms, picking up those last few stray toys, and straightening throw pillows on the couch reminded me how much I enjoy stepping into someone else’s home when it’s evident that an effort has been made to create a pleasant and welcoming environment.
I could have passed yet another Saturday in lazing about or running an endless stream of errands. I could have had some extra time to myself or watched a movie. I even feel a little guilty about all the raking of leaves and pruning of bushes that went undone today. But there’s something about those few minutes before company comes over when every room in the house is clean…when a favorite CD plays in the background and something yummy simmers on the stove…when little noses are pressed against the (momentarily clean) window, watching for a car to pull up to the house. Candlelight, pretty dishes, little girls with hair carefully arranged, wicker bread baskets lined with colorful cloth napkins, flowers in a glass jar, a pile of grapes served in a white colander. We don’t see these things every day, or at least not all at once. Add to that good conversation, lots of laughter, and the antics of a houseful of small children, and you have the makings of a pretty good day.
Worth the planning, worth the preparing, worth the sore feet and aching neck. Good friends and good food. It works every time!