From the Ranch

From the Ranch

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Someone Once Said, "Never Have a Meal Alone if Possible."

"A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body."  Benjamin Franklin
"Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly."  M. F. K. Fisher 

We eat all the time in our country, sometimes too much, sometimes the wrong thing, sometimes completely healthy, but a meal is always better when it is shared with others.  Last night at the ranch we had new friends over for a dinner and to celebrate the  birthday of one of the friends.  We met Brenda and Willie Orr at The Hill, a great little hamburger joint in Bellville, Texas where we live, while Randy was home on leave.  Janet and I will both talk to a fence post, (Janet Cook is my friend who works for me now at the ranch, another beautiful blessing sent from the Father.)  Brenda will talk to a fence post too, so all of us women took up the conversation after we sat down by the attractive couple in the next booth.  It turned out that both Willie and Randy had worked at BAE Systems, so the two of them fell into conversation as well.  Soon we were talking about the ranch, and invited them, as we nearly always do when we meet new people, out for a visit.  The day I took Randy to catch the plane back to Iraq the Orrs dropped by the ranch while I was gone, and left a business card on the door.  It was Brenda's birthday, and she mentioned that in the note on the back of the card.  When I called her back we talked and I asked them out for supper on Saturday night for a belated celebration of her birthday.

I love to cook for people and to set a nice table.  That human longing for connection that is one of the ways we are created in God's image,  comes out in me daily, and I love people in a very natural way from my heart.  When you are possessed by this "love" you are happiest when doing things for others in small expressions of appreciation and hospitality.  I find great satisfaction in entertaining others in our home, and in doing small things that have faded from our culture in many places.   Often when we entertain today, we tend to take the easier route of paper goods and plastic ware so that as hostesses and hosts, we have more time with our guests.  Casual entertaining is much more popular now than the formal table setting, and a lot can be said for that type of entertaining, but I love old fashioned Southern type hospitality.  So any opportunity I have to set the table with anyone of my five sets of china, I indulge my love of that expression of hospitality.  I took this picture before I had completely set the table, but as a note, after dinner coffee in those cups is indescribable when a dollop of French Vanilla Blue Bell Ice Cream is added ...  

I won't say how old Brenda 
turned, but you would
never guess what birthday this 
beautiful woman celebrated last week!  When a woman loves God, it just shows in her countenance, no 
matter what her age.   I learned my 
new friend is a business consultant, and her talent and expertise in that field was evident in the conversation of the evening, as was her strong faith and the commitment of both she and Willie to living lives of integrity as they seek to honor God.

 We laughed, swapped stories and sat at the table until well after mid-night!  There are just some people whose conversation and engaging personalities I find fascinating, but when you share kinship in God's forever family, no matter how new the friendship, there is the bond of a loving family at any table that is shared.  Brenda, Janet, or Jet as we call her, and I share many interests.  Jet has always been a person who journaled, and Brenda shared a song she composed when she woke up on her birthday, and gave God thanks and praise for the life He has given her.  Of course I love writing poetry, and  I very much enjoyed the song, with its' powerful and positive message of  loveI will post it here when she gives me the final polished product, I am sure any reader will enjoy it.

 I placed three candles on Brenda's cake, (red velvet with red roses.)  One candle was to represent who she had been, the center one to represent who she is now, and the third to represent what God will do in her life this next year to make her the woman she will grow to be.  With God in our lives we always continue to grow and become more than we have been.  We were all so reluctant for the night to end because of the sweetness of the fellowship in what felt like the sharing of a meal with long standing and cherished friends.
"And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people, And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."

  What blessings are mine everyday 
 at the ranch!  It is so difficult to explain to someone who has never been here the peace, warmth, and very real presence of God.  What good people the Lord brings to my life!  When we open our homes to others to share shelter or a meal and in the name of the Lord offer hospitality the Bible says we may be entertaining angels unaware.  I often wonder if that is happening to me when we receive the enchanting guests that frequent our home.  We live in such blessing, we must share all that God has made us stewards of here at Soldier's Heart Ranch!