Gather.

It happens to be one of my favorite words.  Gather.

It means “come together.”  I like that……the coming together……especially around the table, sitting down to a meal to fellowship and laying off your burdens to simply sit and eat and drink.

I just got back from a 2 night/3 day working staff retreat at my place of work in the mountains of Colorado with all our staff where I cooked and prepared 5 out of the 6 meals for all of us over the course of those 3 days.  It was fun, it was invigorating, it was exhausting, it was love.  I love the details of my job. I love the creativity of my job. I love the fellowship of my job. I love the hard of my job.  My job fits me like a glove. God tailor made me for this job.

I thought and prepared a lot about what food to prepare, what recipes to try and how much groceries to buy, how to set the table in such a way that my co-workers had to but glance at it to know they were welcome to sit and know and know that a place had been prepared for them especially.  I thought long and hard about all these details.

So, at the table I prepared, I wanted to make sure everyone knew they were expected and that I was waiting for them to come and gather and dine.  I took a few snapshots of the setting…….

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When I make a kids table at gatherings, I usually cover the table with brown craft paper and put a box of crayons at each kid’s place so they can create/doodle to their heart’s content.   So the wheels began turning and I thought I’d do the same but at the adult table this time.  So I placed all the plates at each setting and wrote their names at the top and to the left of each plate.  Added some natural twigs and elements and some candles and voila……

It was a simple table but still so pretty with all the candles lit and everyone gathered ’round and seated at their special place at the table.  We dined on:

Pork Tenderloin stuffed with Apple Stuffing and Cider Gravy

Smashed Sweet Potatoes

Pan Seared Asparagus

Pumpkin Cobbler with Ice Cream

A simple meal with some Fall flare.  It was my first time butterflying and stuffing a pork tenderloin and the recipe I made up on the fly, but it cam together nicely.  What fun I truly had serving these fine people.

And while I was away, my husband, Jason, was both mom and dad to our 2 beautiful girls.  I returned home yesterday afternoon to be fully embraced by my girls, whose faces I promptly and sweetly smothered with my kisses.  Oh, how soft and supple and plush their young cheeks were as my lips found a resting place there.  I wanted to just keep kissing and holding them.  And then to sit around our living room and hear them chat and fill me in on their days activities while I was away…..it just made my heart smile.  What a privilege it is to watch these girls, these people change their physical shape and grow right in front of my very eyes.  These 2 girls are such cool people!  I get to receive the benefit of their love and in turn I get to lavish love on them.  They told my they missed me while I was away working……I am normally the one staying home with our girls while Jason’s away on a business trip but this time it was my turn and they missed me….they noticed my absence.  It felt good to be missed and it also felt good to work too.

It was a lovely few days away even though it was work but now to the promise of a relaxing weekend and going away to celebrate our Lily’s 11 years gracing this planet.  To watch and care for and water our ‘garden of girls’ is something I cherish in this life.  My work fits me too and now it’s time to relax and enjoy my family as we recognize another milestone, another birthday in the lives of our girls.  Here’s to a weekend of gathering our little family together and enjoying each other.

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