Monday, October 08, 2007

Saturday Dinners

It’s been a wonderful, though busy weekend!
I usually try to get all of my cooking for the weekend done on Saturday, but this week we decided to reinstate the tradition of a Lord’s Day Eve dinner.
This was a tradition that we really enjoyed while the kids were younger, but as we got busier with a church that eats together, well, I just wasn’t organized enough to do it all. Now that my sister and mother are living so close by, we really wanted to have that tradition together with them. There is also a really big benefit for us, besides the family memories and together time. This benefit is the main reason we wanted to try again:

Having a special Lord’s Day eve dinner makes us STOP! It forces me to look forward all week and prepare for the Lord’s Day, rather than doing everything on Saturday. Normally, at least lately, I work, work, work all day Saturday and go to bed exhausted, often waking up on Sunday to a house in which the normal housework has been neglected in order to accomplish all of the big tasks I tackled. By Sunday evening, the house is a huge wreck and not a haven at all!

When we are having our special Saturday dinner, there is a cut off time for me. There is a time that I want to have things looking nice by and dinner on the table by… There is a time that I SIT and ENJOY and REFLECT. Lately the reflecting has been as I hit the bed and it is usually full of regret and self-chastisement. I wake up feeling stressed and then when I’m sitting in the pew I have the same prayer of confession, “forgive me for being so hurried this morning, forgive me for not even thinking of my Lord, but of all of the tasks to be done.”

So here is how my Saturday went:
I already had the dinner I was bringing to church made and in the freezer (well not completely, but I’ll get to that!). We had Sauerkraut for dinner on Friday and I froze a portion for our congregational dinner on Sunday. I made a huge push to be caught up on laundry on Thursday and made sure that everyone knew what they were wearing to church.
On Saturday I arose about 7:00 and went to the commissary (I usually do this) in order to beat the crowds. I was home about 9:00 and we hurried to put the groceries away. We worked hard before lunch to get the house clean because Isaac had soccer practice at 12:30 and Steven was driving him to it.
We had lunch about 11:30 and Shayna and I worked on making our dinner, finishing up a couple of loads of laundry, and making the dining room especially nice while setting a nice table.
Dinner was at about 5:00. (I was ready by about 4:00) We had stuffed shells, salad, homemade applesauce, garlic bread and for dessert, brownies and ice cream.
We all worked on the dishes together and went to bed with just a few rinsed and stacked dishes that didn’t fit in the dishwasher to do in the morning.

If you have read, “Making Sunday Special” by Karen Mains you know that she has a whole Shabbat Erev liturgy. We did use to do something similar, and hope to again, but this past Saturday we kept it simple. The only “ceremonial” thing that we did is that while I lit the candles, Conrad prayed this prayer: “O God, the source of eternal light: Shed forth your unending day upon us who watch for you, that our lips may praise you, our lives may bless you, and our worship on the morrow give you glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Then we all closed our eyes and gave thanks for the meal.

After dinner, we prepared for worship by singing the songs from the bulletin and reading the passages. It was hard to guess what the guest preacher was going to preach on, we couldn’t imagine from the sermon title.

Here’s what I did wrong:
I was supposed to have the shells already made and in the freezer, so instead of my lesson planning, I made dinner.
I hadn’t really thought through what we were brining on Sunday, my main dish was done, but I ended up making my side dish on Sunday morning (leaving the pots and pans in the sink). I also had an extra meal to bring (leftovers from the campout that we froze) and hadn’t thawed them in time.
The other thing that I really hoped to do is have time for my own Bible study and reflection on Saturday afternoon. I had left too much of the meal to prepare right before, so robbed myself of that time.

On top of that, we have special company coming tonight for dinner. I don’t think that I’m able to think ahead to Monday very well, when my head is full of Saturday and Sunday. I think that next time we will wait to have weekday guests on Tuesday or Wednesday.

I’m hoping that our Saturday dinner will also help my sister get organized for the Lord’s Day better, too. I promised her that I would put reminders to do different things on here throughout the week to get ready. Perhaps it will help you too.

Today, for us, Monday, is just a recovery day. We are going to clean up the house from the weekend and plan our week. We usually plan our week on Sunday evening but we had a church officers’ families meeting with our special guest last night. It was great fun, but meant that we were home a whole 1 ½ hours yesterday.
We are going to be visiting a friend in the morning and finishing up our housework and schoolwork in the afternoon.

Dinner is going to be in the croc pot: Beef in Port with Mushrooms. We will make carrots and poppy seed noodles to go with as well as a salad.
Pastor Smith will be arriving about 5:30ish and we hope to eat around 6:00 followed by some family worship and good conversation and beer, I think.

I’m thankful for: Pastor Smith’s teaching on the Trinity and Prayer this past Lord’s Day, and the fellowship with the saints here that we enjoy.
I’m thankful for my home and that we are so rich that we can afford to take the time to enjoy our company and feed him well this evening, think about it!
I’m thankful for my late brother-in-law, my sister remembered him especially yesterday, on their 12th anniversary.

I’m praying: That I get everything done today! Lesson plans are done and I’m off to make a breakfast to bring for our visit with Mel this morning. And I’m trying to pray with the wonderful things in mind we were taught yesterday. That prayer is more of a blessing than we could ever imagine – that it brings us into communion with God.

God bless, y’all!

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