I've talked before about my monthly breakfasts.
I love holding them.
I love meeting with the women who drag themselves out of their houses early on a Saturday morning, when the 'to-do' list is long and there are families, children, husbands who all want to lay claim to their time.
I love the warm sense of companionship.
I love how I feel I've had a holiday, a break, refreshment and relaxation.
Every time, in the run-up during the week, I wonder if it is worth it.
People often don't tell me they are coming until the last minute. So, by Friday afternoon, I was expecting 3. Then the phone calls and emails started coming - at one point, we were up to 12, I think, or more. (I lose track easily.)
There were 9 of us. Perfect. 9 is the perfect number for sharing, for being able to really open up our hearts and be real with each other.
Every time, I find myself running around to get ready.
This time, even more so. I was rather too relaxed and didn't realise I hadn't got up until an hour before they were due to arrive.
An hour in which I had to lay out crockery and cutlery; cut up and arrange fruit; make toast. Bake cinnamon rolls. (The last was unplanned, although fortunately I realised at 9pm the night before that I didn't have any baked goods or even enough bread in the freezer. No problem: just put dough to rise over night.)
But then I noticed that there were several other 'little' jobs desperately demanding my attention. Rather like taking your children out to visit someone you don't know really well and realising that their hands and faces looked as if they'd been making mud pies all afternoon. Remember when your mum used to clean you up with a bit of spit and polish? A lick on a handkerchief and a hard wipe round delicate skin on your child face? That's what the house got. (Don't look for the dirt in the corners.)
I felt a bit ashamed, really. I hadn't given the forthcoming breakfast enough weighty consideration, so I hadn't prepared adequately for visitors to my home.
On the other hand, I knew that these ladies from church would not be judging me on the quality of my cleaning, cooking or tea-making. They knew that 'Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.' (1 Samuel 16:7)
Guess what the topic was this time?
Here are my lovely friends, who look beyond the outward appearance to come and share precious time together: