In a twist of scheduling fate, I have a few free hours this morning so I am sitting at Panera Bread enjoying a cup of coffee and an oatmeal raisin cookie and reflecting on my weekend. Friday I taught a lunch and learn at the Kitchen Shoppe in Carlisle for a group of professional women – it was great fun. I taught the ladies how to make pasta by hand, then I did a demo of a quick cook tomato sauce, an Italian flag salad, and some chocolate ricotta mousse with red wine macerated raspberries and cinnamon whipped cream….mmm mmm mmm. As much fun as Friday was, Saturday was truly a memorable day.
Any time you can show up at a friend’s house while they are still in their jammies and do something for them that makes their eyes well up with tears is a day well spent! And that’s just the kind of day I, and a group of good friends, had on Saturday.
You probably know someone who would do anything for anybody just because they needed help, right? Well I do. His name is Ben. He’s “the guy” that everyone knows. You know what I mean….he’s the guy in the phrase, “I know a guy with a truck.” Or, “I know a guy who delivers tanbark.” Or, “I know a guy who will come to your house and plant a tree in the dark.” He has an incredibly generous spirit and, fortunately, an understanding wife!
So this past Saturday, a group of friends and I spent the day at Ben and Christa’s house helping them complete some of the projects that go undone around their house because Ben spends his time helping others. We did everything from cutting grass (boy did I have fun on the zero turn riding mower) and moving plants and trees, to building new raised bed garden boxes and painting around the garage doors – among other things. AND WE HAD A WONDERFUL TIME!
It was almost perfect weather for spending the day outside – almost….we could definitely have done without the wind, but it was bright and sunny and not too hot for outdoor chores. And, of course, we had some good food!
My friend Lu and I got together a few weeks ago at Pizza Grille to come up with a food strategy. We shared the work, which made feeding the crew breakfast and lunch a pretty easy task. For breakfast Lu made an egg casserole and sticky buns and I made raisin bran muffins. She brought a carafe of coffee and I brought juice. For lunch I made sweet tea brined chicken breasts and some decadent macaroni and cheese (trust me, we worked it off) and Lu made a delicious chopped salad. Lu also brought a beautiful fruit tray for snacking throughout the day and I brought some chips, pretzels and apples. Jason and Alicia brought beverages and we were good to go!
We ate breakfast between 7:30 and 8:00 and then got our assignments and set to work. Although we wanted the day to be a surprise for both Ben and Christa; in order for all the logistics to work smoothly, we had to clue Christa in on our plans. She was able to ensure (1) that they were home and awake when we arrived and (2) that a list of jobs was put together in advance. Thanks, Christa!
We worked individually and in groups until about noon, when we broke for lunch. In a group effort, we moved the picnic table and benches from the garage to a beautiful, level spot in the garden and sat down for a well-deserved rest and some fuel. We talked and laughed and ate – ok mostly we laughed, but we did our share of eating too! And when we were sufficiently rehydrated and refueled, we set back to work until about 4:00.
I cannot tell you what a pleasure it was to serve together with Ben and Christa, my hubby Jeff, Lu and Mark, Alicia and Jason, Joel, and Frank! What an amazing group of people. Everyone pitched in and just did what needed to be done. No egos, no complaining, no bickering – it could not have gone more smoothly! We learned from each other and with each other, told stories of old memories and made new memories, and genuinely enjoyed being in one another’s company. We had a full day to spend together – which doesn’t often happen in our busy world – getting to know one another better. It was a great lesson that you don’t need to travel to another country or another state or even right outside your own community or group of friends to participate in a “missions trip!” Sharing the gospel can happen in any setting and with people you already know – not just with people you’ve never met. Saturday was a living example of the gospel and of joining God in the work He is doing! I would be proud to serve with this team again!
On the way home, I asked Jeff if we could drive past one of my favorite places – Hempt Farm – a horse farm near our house. I am not a “horse person.” I’ve never ridden a horse and Saturday was only the second time I’ve ever been close enough to a horse to pet it; but I love watching them run and interact with one another. They are the perfect combination of beauty and power! We spent a few minutes watching them and talking to them and just chilling out before heading home. It was a relaxing way to end a busy, but productive day.
I hope you enjoy the photos I took of the horses: