I've had some great times of fellowship in the past week. Here's a couple snippets:
1. Last Friday night (1/4), I had a potluck dinner with two friends from church, Margaret and Bethany. Margaret's retired and Bethany is in grad school. I made Sweet Potato Black Bean burritos, Margaret had a delicious Italian salad with olives and tomatoes, and Bethany made a delicious chocolate pudding cake. We just had the most wonderful time talking together all about life and our Christmas vacations and families. I love hanging out with people of all different ages.
2. The first Tuesday of every month is a lunch with Partners friends that we call FIRED, Food is Really Ethnically Delicious. We moved the lunch to the second Tuesday this month because of New Year's Day, and we had the most wonderful experience. We were going to eat Thai food, but the restaurant was closed, so we ended up eating at an Ethiopian restaurant in a gas station/convenience store that's just opened about a mile from work. The couple that runs the restaurant came from Ethiopia 10 years ago to give their children a chance to get an education. It was our first truly ethnic meal for FIRED. We didn't order, though there was a menu. Rather, the owner brought us each a dish she made, a sampling from the menu. Before we ate, she walked around to each person with a special bowl and pitcher. She poured a warm stream of water over our hands while we scrubbed and then we dried off with a towel. We did this because you eat Ethiopian food with your hands by wrapping pieces of Injera flatbread around the meat and veggies. The food was delicious and the owner also roasted coffee beans and made us strong Ethiopian coffee. I even tried a bit just for the experience. It was fun!
3. On Tuesday, despite rather treacherous road conditions, five women met together at one woman's house for our montly Colbert Women Connecting With Women event. Because there were only five of us, each of us had a longer time to share than normal. We shared all about our Christmas breaks and the emotions that accompanied our vacations. It's always so good to share in these circumstances because several of us were experiencing similar emotions, especially reflecting on how family dynamics change as children age, move out of the house, and get married or have kids. Did anyone experience a different Christmas with these kinds of changes? What was it like?
4. On Thursday, my friend Kari who is visiting for the week, my housemates Pam and Heidi, and I had Blueberry Yogurt Multigrain Pancakes for dinner with grapefruit, scrambled eggs, and kale/craisin/goat cheese salad. It was so fun! I love breakfast for dinner. After dinner, we had an awesome dance party! Yay for Owl City and One Direction! :)
5. Yesterday morning, my housemate Heidi and I had book club with our former professor Laura Bloxham. We've been discussing a book of short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri, which I highly recommend. But the most lovely part of the morning was the way Laura asked thoughtful questions about my and Heidi's lives and about the story we were studying. She is always interested and listens attentively and graciously. It gives me the wonderful feeling of being heard and understood. It was a good reminder to me that I need to continue to cultivate these qualities. What a lovely gift to give to someone: careful listening and thoughtful questions!
Each of these experiences and many more this week are evidence to me of God's continued and unmerited grace in my life. I tell these stories to inspire you to look for times of fellowship in your own life and to thank God for them. And honestly, my weeks vary. I'm not always surrounded with such opportunities for fellowship, but when the opportunities arise, I want to relish them.
The last thing I want to write about that's unrelated is the snow today. It's been simply gorgeous the past two days with blue skies and sun and continued so today. As I was sitting in church this morning, I looked out the window and the snow was falling so gently and quietly that it looked like it was floating in slow motion. It was magical. When I walked to my car, the snow sparkled on the ground like crystal. Thanks for the beauty, God!
May God bless you each with times of precious fellowship this week!