8/7/08

Dinner at Almost 9!


I’m glad I could be flexible with our dinnertime last Sunday night.

We really wanted to see our friends. And their commitments on this particular Sunday were going from one thing to another. They weren’t commitments of wasted time. They were commitments of reaching out. Touching lives.

So when we asked our friends to come over for a steak dinner, we were willing to push our dinner out and wait for them, as eight-thirty was the soonest they could get to our house. We Coughlins love to eat early, so this was a stretch for us. But not only did we want to see these friends, we knew that coming to our home would be a relaxing way to end a very busy day for them. I had also purchased some steaks at the “10 lb. Meat Sale” that we wanted to barbeque, along with veggies and salad from our yard (and of course yummy bread). My friend brought the dessert (delegation!)


We pulled fresh potatoes from our garden and after baking them first, we sliced and seasoned them. Using crookneck squash and lemon thyme from the garden, we added sweet onions and peppers, olive oil and fresh limejuice and spices. And preparing my steak the simple way, I rubbed olive oil on each steak, sprinkled with Stevia (or Splenda or regular sugar), and Costco’s steak seasoning - all on both sides. The bread was sliced, wrapped in foil, and placed in the oven.

All food was prepared in 30 minutes and ready for the grill!

One thing I noticed early in the evening was that we usually have music playing as we’re preparing for our company. But as I was setting the table outside on our patio, in the quietness of the evening, I heard the popping sounds of the barbeque. It smelled and sounded just like a campfire. I loved the silence that surrounded this magical sound. I stood there and shut my eyes and took it all in. I thought of our guests who were coming to dinner. I knew that our time would be good. It would not be taken up with wasted chatter or filled with dreary gossip. While eating our dinner, we’d be talking about things we are passionate about. Mostly relating to people and goals in life.


We all long for connection. We all long for purpose. And what this couple doesn’t know is that they actually help my husband and me to become better people. By cheering, supporting and encouraging us – in ministry and in the throws of parenting - they always seem to be there for us. Thank you B and J!

Yes, I’m thankful that I could be flexible last week. I wasn’t always that way! And part of what I am continuing to learn about flexibility is that it starts with a willingness to do something different. To be able to go with the flow, and make a schedule change.

With that willingness a blessing is usually right there ready to follow.

(Photos: actual food prepared and served, minus the yummy bread! See the smoking grill?) More on "flexibility", read my "Golden Gift of Flexibility" post, here.)

21 comments:

Myrna said...

and be ye therefore flexible...
Yesterday the champagne was on sale, the 2 we most often buy, both under $10--I buy a bottle of each and chill them. But it's too much for us two, and I've never had them side by side, to compare---so we call our friends. "I have enough to prepare dinner for 4 if you'd like to taste test champagne" "We'd love that, but my sister and her husband are visiting" I look at my unopened 2# bag of scallops, "I have enough for 6". "Really? it's just that my bother-in-law is in a wheelchair, and he couldn't get into your house, you'd have to bring the party here" I look at my husband, he nods, "We can do that"
We load up a laundry basket and head across town, We have melon, brie and bread to begin--then later, the scallops and salad, my friend's husband made a yummy dessert. The evening is absolutely delightful. Our friends have had a challenging time of late, and as we leave, we're told, "Thank you, it was a 'heluva day'---you really blessed us and provided a welcome distraction and a way to relax"
Portable hospitality---it was ez and fun---and we had no way to predict, it was ministry too.

Connie said...

I am rather new to blogging and found your site and love the encouragement you've given. I have wanted to entertain more but always felt inadequate however after reading your blog I am encouraged. I've enjoyed planning a dinner and did just that for my family last night with flowers from my garden on the table and a theme of sorts. You can check it out on my blog if you'd like. Thanks again!

Cheffie-Mom said...

Hi, I'm Debbie. I love to celebrate family, food, fun and friends- which I see we definitely have in common. I'd love for you to stop by my blog. Have a great day!

Jen said...

All the foods look perfect. Dont you just love fresh veggies from the garden??? We have several friends we would stay up late for too.....

Chris @ Come to the Table said...

Sandy,
Everything looks so good! But I especially love your heart towards your guests. You always inspire me!

Carrie said...

Thanks for posting on my blog. I just recently started it so I get really happy when someone new finds me. How did you find me, by the way?
I've enjoyed reading a little of your blog. It has encouraged me to not give up on having people over and trying to make new friends. My husband and I used to have a handful of friends that we would regularly share evenings and meals with in our home and theirs, but things and people change and move and you know... Reading some of your posts has made me realize how much I really do miss that. So thanks for doing what you do and being so encouraging.

As for the berry basket, I'm planning on using it in our new art cabinet to hold crayons! Yippie!

Heidi said...

love this - we've had many late dinners too! great looking salad too!

Grace said...

yeah...i'm usually in bed by 9.
i might be willing to stay up for some of that gorgeous food though. :)
you're a kind soul. :)

Tara said...

Beautiful pictures! All that colorful food looks wonderful.

Our Green Nest said...

Love your blog - tu so much for visiting mine! I always love finding cool new blogs, especially one that is about entertaining, as it's something we love to do as well. I'll be back often!

abeachcottage said...

you know I need to be flexible in my attitude so that I finally push away the perfectionism, I'm still struggling, Sandy, but this post has helped, I guess I'm still focusing on worrying about what people think, so not the whole point is it...I need to read back over your thoughts and posts some more, my next invite deadline approaches and the next one will parachute me way out of my comfort zone

love the veggies from the garden, isn't that just an amazing thing, I can't wait for mine to grow

yet another thought provoking post, thanks

Sarah

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Hi Sandy, We are early dinner eaters too. I have never heard of putting sugar on steaks. Tell me more. Have a super great weekend.

Apron Thrift Girl said...

Flexibility is such a precious gift to have. I like to think we have it. I love last minute invites ideas to do something. I kind of thrive on the excitement of it. I think your meal looks fantastic.

Stephanie said...

I agree that good friends, great conversation, and yummy food are a perfect reason any day to eat late!

And I love how simple your meals always are! Why is it that I try to complicate everything!

Thanks Sandy :)

ellie said...

Hello, Thank you for visiting my blog. We all love having visitors in any way or form, don't we. People with warm hearts, with precious things to say, and gentle hugs.
I really like this post. It is true the wonderful things we find when we change our plans, or take a different path. Having children has taught me to be more flexible in a lot of ways.

Kathy said...

I'll bet those home-grown potatoes were fantastic. I've never grown them, but a friend gave me some straight from her garden last year and they were out-of-this-world delicious. Almost like I'd never eaten real potatoes before!

Hurrayic said...

Your food looks great - that spinach salad with strawberries and raspberries and nuts....yum. Thanks for commenting on my blog. I'm looking forward to reading more of yours.

Debbie said...

Once again I found myself in total agreement with your post. Over the years I have learned that flexibility is key - especially when you have kids, a husband and pets and friends and in-laws and ...the list goes on. I am also going to try those potpies - yummy!
Thanks for great recipes and encouragment to continue to reach out.

bizzy mommy said...

"With that willingness a blessing is usually right there ready to follow."
-this is worth remembering! excelent photos!

:..Rebekah..: said...

I just love your pics of food!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Sandy~ I have added you to our centerpiece of the month for august.
You are amazing!