Tuesday, April 25, 2006

One Meal Two Ways

Our first stop last week was Vancouver. The drive was incredible. Clear blue skies were the backdrop to pristine white snow that had fallen just days before. The sun shone with radiance that made the weary fall into deep sleep - which is exactly what I did for about 3 hours as we navigated our second mountain pass. (This was the first of several "great sleeps" that God granted me on this trip. To a mom of two high-octane little boys, this is a blessing that I thank the Almighty for).

In Vancouver, we stayed with my aunt and uncle. They are wonderful hosts and fed us like kings. Their home is beautifully kept - white carpets, leather furniture, interesting artwork - even a special room, which my eldest dubbed "the Look-Out Room", since it affords a spectacular view of Grouse Mountain. Both my aunt and uncle enjoy gourmet food, and we were treated to delicacies such as grape leaves, filo-wrapped veal, hummus, etc. Many of these were new and unusual for my boys.

The last evening we were visiting there, my aunt invited my cousin and her husband to dinner. The menu included scalloped potatoes (actually, I think they were potatoes au gratin, but to my husband they're scalloped) with ham and a chicken dish. It was a delightful meal, complete with pleasant conversation and music befitting the city-lights sparkling in the distance.

The next day we left Vancouver for another cousin's home in Abbotsford. Again, we had a fantastic visit. My cousin has 5 children (plus another on the way from Liberia). Her house is in the country and is like stepping into a basket of warm buns - lots of love, lots of laughs and lots of food.

Dinner at their place was just like "down-home". She had cooked a ham, complete with scalloped potatoes, salad, fresh buns and concord grape juice - made with the grapes in their backyard. We ate with 11 people around a huge oak table. There was lots of "please pass me..." and conversation that ranged from IT to high school soccer practice. Afterwards we sat around the living room and talked until the wee hours of the morning.

Upon reflection, I was struck by how both my aunt and my cousin gave us a wonderful gift. And although they both cooked the same food on paper, their meals were both served in such a unique way - that they were individual offerings of love. As such, we enjoyed them both tremendously and grew in understanding: it's generally not as much about the food, as it is about the company. This is a great reminder for me to "be myself" and just relax about the menu when company comes. Generally, the food will be edible, and the company? If it's without pretense or pride, it should be most enjoyable and fulfilling.

4 comments:

Homemanager said...

Marlene,
What a wonderful vacation! Thanks so much for the refreshing perspective of hospitality.
So glad to hear that you were blessed with much needed rest.
How did your carnival go?

Marlene S. said...

The carnival went really well. It was just last night. In terms of "preaching" the gospel... we were faithful, I pray.

There were tracts, the write-up I had posted, as well as a young man, who started the 'show' as a clown, and then segued (sp?) into the gospel. He used a mirror to clean the make-up off his face - likening the Law to a mirror. He is only 14 years, but He delivered the gospel and completely. It was neat to see God using Him.

No one came to talk to our leaders afterwards, which is always disappointing when you put a lot of time and effort into things. But my husband was good to remind me to focus on my part of "evangelism" and leave the Holy Spirit to His part. And to that end I am praying that God's Word will not return void, but change the hearts of the hearers present yesterday.

Thanks for asking. I'll be over to visit your blog later today - gotta run to Costco quickly. Thanks for being such an encouragement to me.

Carey said...

Marlene:
The carnival was wonderful. The decorations and the events were awesome! You and your leaders put alot of effort into it. I was amazed by it and my heart rejoiced as all your workers work and their hearts was evident in it. My daughter had a great time
and did learn the commandments as we walked through them. We talked about each one as we were waiting in the lines. Her favorite was the sponge thorw toss, she was disappointed she did not hit Kevin:) WE did not have alot of time to discuss the night after because we had to get her into bed with school the next day, but I know she will tell her friends about it and within the next few days things from that night will pop up when I least expect it. Then is when a good talk will come. Remember you have all planted seeds, and that is all that is asked of us. Great JOB!

Homemanager said...

Praise the Lord, Marlene! Amen! to praying for the word to not return void! He is so faithful! :o)
I think it is so awesome that the Lord is using the younger believers to bring forth the gospel. That is why it has been so important (increasingly so),why we need to see our role as "mom" as a high calling.
Don't you just marvel at how the Lord does things!
Thanks so much for sharing about the carnival! It just makes me want to Praise Him!
I also think He is such a wonderful Father...you can tell by the note Carey left you! :o)
So glad to visit with you!