Sunday, December 12, 2010
Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return. - Luke 6:38
As the holiday season comes roaring to its fever pitch, oftentimes we get lost trying to do too many things and getting caught up in the business of the season. There are multiple parties to attend to, gifts to buy, gifts to make, performances to attend, office parties to dress for and the weeks following Thanksgiving until the New Year are often hectic and exhausting.
The holidays are always crazy for me as well because I like to cook for friends and family and prepare tons of food at home. I also like to bake goods for the teachers at different schools and show my appreciation and love for friends by making them a homemade treat. This means that I'm in my kitchen a lot. Add on top of that Son's birthday party is always the weekend right after Thanksgiving and suddenly I'm almost too exhausted to get up in the morning.
This season, on top of all the regular stuff, I decided to add another event and host another prayer dinner, similar to the one I did last month. I didn't know if I would have the same turnout or not, and as the date came closer to the day, it became clear that I would not have the same intense turnout. I debated hosting it, because it seemed perhaps almost not worth it if so few people were attending. But at the final moment, I decided that hosting it, even for only a few people would be well worth it. And upon further thought, came to the conclusion that I would really have the opportunity to serve some people who have dedicated their lives to truly serving others - forsaking traditional jobs and work in order that they are free and ready to pray for others at any given moment.
The team that came today and the last time is a group of people who truly just pray for others. They ask for nothing in return and have willingly and joyfully given their time and prayers for anyone who wants and asks. In talking to one of the team members who is my friend, she told me that she thought that perhaps this prayer dinner could also be a small Christmas party for the team and a birthday party for one of the team's daughter. I took all of that to heart and decided that this time, I really wanted to serve the team in the way that they had been serving others.
Last night, I had to stay up quite late to bake all the cupcakes and the cookies I wanted to have for the dinner and to make sure that the pulled pork would be ready to pop in the oven as soon as I woke up in the morning. And the whole time, while tired and yawning, I still felt great. I envisioned how the team might feel to get a delicious home-cooked meal, to have a moment of respite and relaxation, and how the sweetness of the cupcake and the cookies might be reflected in their eyes. I cooked and prepared thinking of their faces and how I might give them something in return for all the amazing prayers they have showered on my friends, my family and on me. And I think the joy and desire must have spilled over into the food...
because it really tasted good. I'm not bragging or anything, but I think the food was especially delicious because it was prepared with happiness. I got so many comments of appreciation from the team, from the people who came to receive prayer and at the end of the night, almost nothing was left. And that - the emptiness of the plates, and the smiles on the team filled my heart almost to bursting and made me joyful. Despite my physical tiredness my heart rejoiced. And I felt so much at the end of the evening that my effort, however small, spilled back over into my lap one hundred fold at the serving of others.
The menu was one that came together in a lovely fashion. I liked the combination of flavors very much and much of it was prepared before hand. The many time consuming thing is making the pulled pork, but it's not an effort thing - mostly it has to be put into the oven and then pulled at the end of it. The Thai carrot soup came out a bit spicier than I would have liked but was still tasty The cupcakes and the cookies at the end were just a lovely extra to enjoy and brought smiles on the faces of young and old.
I am overflowing - not just stomach wise, but my heart.
Crackers, Cheese, Salami
Asian Pulled Pork Sandwiches (Pork rubbed the night before and then cooked in the oven for 8.5 hours day of dinner. plan this well.)
Thai Carrot Soup (made the day before, cooled, chilled and warmed the day of the dinner)
Ginger Slaw (salad chopped the night before, dressing made the night before, tossed together right before serving)
Vanilla Bean Vanilla Bean Cupcakes (baked and frosted the day of)
Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt (Dough made 3 days in advance, baked the night before)
Posted by Joanne Choi at 11:40 PM
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