One of my favorite things to do is cook for friends, gathering them around the table and fostering new relationships.
My heart soars over the thought of menu planning, creating an invitation, and staging my home. These things might not appeal to you but they are essential for this hostess.
Since I've moved to Nashville, I have not been able to practice hospitality in my home. The living room is smaller than my last apartment and I don't have a dining room, much less a dining room table. When I've cook for others these past 7 months, I've done it in their homes, which has worked nicely but it's not the same as entertaining in your own space.
I started two dinner clubs in my hometown in the last several years. The first was a collection of my favorite people. When we started the group, only one of the girls was married. By the end only 3 of us were unattached. Schedules were more complex with the addition of spouses and fiances and so that particular Dinner Club, lovely as it had been, sailed into the sunset.
Perhaps because I was tired of going to so many weddings and showers that particular season of my life, I wanted this next dinner club to be my single friends. I emailed the lot of them to see who was interested and our new group was formed. Many of them had never met before.
Eating, breaking bread and sharing wine, this was the foundation of my dinner clubs. This almost guarantees that connections will be made and friendships formed. We each took turns hosting. Linda made fondue once, which was a huge hit. Ellen made a large vat of soup that was soothing on a cold rainy day. No matter who hosted, we welcomed the opportunity to gather and dissect our lives.
Jobs changed, engagements occurred, and suddenly this group was no more. I came to think of my dinner clubs as a seasonal effect. Wonderful and life-giving while they lasted.
I am in a place in my life now where most of my friends are wives and mothers. I have been fortunate to befriend some single women, with whom to commiserate on the paltry dating scene and the latest insult we've suffered. As we've talked, we've realized there isn't really a place in our churches for us. The older singles group in my church, for instance, meets on Saturday nights when I generally have plans. Elizabeth and I started to talk about what we'd want in a church singles group and as our discussion flowed, dinner club returned to my mind.
Elizabeth caught the vision and I returned to what I do best: the art of hospitality. As potatoes baked and caramel sauce simmered, while dicing onion, and cooking bacon, these ritual steps soothed me as I anticipated this gathering.
Last week I opened my home to my new dinner club companions. There are six of us to start and who knows where it will go. Single, strong Christians, and sassy, these ladies enrich my soul. Single Lady's Supper Club, as Lauren has dubbed us.
I served Julie's obsession-worthy Baked Potato Soup and my Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread Pudding. The sectional couch served as our table. Stories flowed faster than the wine, second helpings were served, and we all felt a part of the start of something good.