“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42
This is one area I struggle with - time and time again. I do not sit down to spend time with our guests rather I find one thing after another to do - for the guests of course!
I would start my day very early and work on so many dishes and stuff and soon things will get so overwhelming that I end up complaining about the family members who do not "pitch in" or "share the chores".
When the meal is served I hurriedly finish mine to rush with making coffee and snacks and the wheel spins non stop, while the rest of the family enjoys a leisure conversation with the guests.
Finally when I am ready to sit down it would be time for the guests to leave. Then I keep a long face that I didn't have any fun! Clearly I am like Martha on this. I miss out on the fun and fellowship as I am distracted by the endless list of chores to do.
But these days I am changing - though very slowly.
It sure felt awkward to order in a pizza for the unexpected guests who showed up on a weekday, instead of cooking a proper meal; but this way I too could relax catching up on things we had missed out on each other over the past decade.
We brew some coffee in the electrical coffee maker, which the guests could help themselves to, again giving me more of a quality time I could enjoy with them rather than hiding in the kitchen all the time or worse yet, ushering them in to help make tea (which I have shamelessly done over the past).
This way I can entertain more guests than I normally would or could or even should. I love to host - love to make friends - love to keep friends - love to get together as much as possible. Definitely my love for my guests stay the same. It is how I show it has changed - I appreciate their time more than my fancy show.
There is one problem though - some friends are not happy. Am I imagining things? No, not at all.
They are so used to my overwhelming attention that now to see me just sit around and talk nonsense is hard for them to take. I am no longer the "perfect host" they have come to know of me as. I have become one of them - a cool host at that! Laid back, relaxed, nothing more, nothing less.
One even confronted me directly, "Queen! What is wrong with you?". "Nothing really; just taking it easy..." was my careful response. The Martha in me warns, "Get up! Spin!" but I shrug it off. "They are not here for your show, but your time, so stay!", Mary insists.
Only one thing is needed, spending time together; everything else is a distraction. Martha no more; becoming Mary...
It was all planned in less than 20 minutes! Our vacation by car from home, New Jersey to Orlando, Florida. We were still thinking-out-loud when we went to bed on Friday night; Saturday early morning we were on the road! If we had paused a minute longer to think it over Israel would have cancelled the whole trip; glad we had not.
There was a skip to our beat and music in our hearts as the rear view mirror blurred from view all familiar scenes... With little or no concern for the left behind plants and fish and home we were all smiles. It was a rare sight - seeing all five of us grinning from ear to ear! We drove a total of 2200 plus miles and loved every inch of it!
It was fun looking at how the weather changed as we drove South from NJ. When we left home it was 54 degrees; when we arrived in Florida it was 84 degrees! Passing through the different States (7 in total) we could see how the trees/plants were changing across the different landscapes. At the first sight of palm trees we were elated!
Do you know that the locals eat boiled peanuts with or without spices in the Carolinas? That pecans are famous in Georgia? That D& L farmers with screaming advertising boards for "$1 fruit bags!" are the biggest cheaters you would ever come by in the entire North America?! That South of the Border is so much fun even to drive by? That each State has put up beautiful welcome boards as you cross the state lines? Well, we too would have missed out on all these facts if we had flown instead of driving.
We stopped at a church on the way to attend Easter service. The people were so kind, their accent so different and the sermon so prompt. The pastor had shared about the promised blessings which is true for the here and not only the here-after.
When we arrived at the hotel (Lake Eve) only then we realized it was a resort hotel; that explains how hurriedly we had left for the trip without even looking up the hotel's website. It was a pleasant surprise to open the doors to a beautiful fully furnished two bedroom condo with a full kitchen, washer/dryer, dish washer and everything. I was delighted to see pots and pans and plates and glasses and what not! It was like home! "Even better", the kids quipped, "...because it has a pool!"
While my friends find it easy and convenient to use paper plates for any get together, I insist on serving on proper plates no matter how many guests we have. I was therefore very pleased with the ceramic plates, cups and bowls they had kept for our use. We remembered the Scripture, "...how you measure, it will be measured unto you!"
Immediately we set out for a quick grocery shopping, loading our cart with basic items such as bread, bagel, milk, egg, bacon, chicken, salmon, shrimp, salt, pepper, oil, lemon juice,yogurt, cumin seeds and red pepper. Oh yes, a small packet of rice and a mini rice cooker too! It was fun cooking as a family. Shrimp and chicken and salmon tasted much better than the home made recipe - just with the bare minimum ingredients - pepper, salt, red pepper, cumin seeds, with or without lemon juice - sauteed in oil. Children loved it!
Every day when we returned from our day's event we were greeted by a clean room - with the beds made, the kitchen back in order, dishes washed and put aside. It was a pleasant surprise day after day and not even once I complained about the cooking. Over all Lake Eve Resort had won our hearts!
The days spent together have reignited the love and bonding between the five of us, the memories of which will last a lifetime! My heart sings songs of thanks to God Almighty. The pastor was right; the promised blessings are true for the here as much as the here-after...
Yes, I did! I did finish the book. No, it wasn't my kind of book but somehow the pages kept turning and before long it was over! Such is the pull of the Ocean Sea. Just loved it!
There is something beautiful about each character in the story and something mesmerizing about the way Baricco tells the story. Dol, Ditz and Dood are so enchanting though it is hard to understand if they are even real.
In Ocean Sea there is Plasson the artist. He tries to paint the sea with sea water and doesn't know where to start because he cannot find the ocean's eye. He is a portrait artist you see and always starts with the eye! So Plasson leaves his canvas blank. This he repeats every day.
Then there is Professor Bartleboom, who is so much in love with his future wife that he keeps her updated with happenings at his end. His letters would read, "Darling! I have safely arrived at the sea!" or "I met this fine lady for tea" etc. Very romantic indeed. The only problem is he cannot mail it to her because he does not know who she is. He longs to find her and hand over the box of letters to her.
I must brief you about Baron who is also an artist. He is good with making identical paintings. Loves his daughter and doesn't like eagles. If eagles must exist he reasons, it is better to have them up and far away in the sky. After a while the daughter shows him one of her paintings, in which she depicts men in mid air, up and away!
I don't want to give out too much spoiling the fun. You must visit them yourself at the sea!
Not bad! Not bad at all! That's how I am faring*. It is April already in this part of the world. I am sure in yours too. The showers have arrived few days early, safe and sound. The sun is on a weekend break or so it appears; hope it won't be gone too long...
There was this sudden desire in me to watch some sea; yes, the ocean as we call it in this part of the town. Watched Poseidon; it wasn't all that good as there is not much sea but only the interiors of this huge ship you see. Then I tried Fools Gold which was indeed the kind of sea I wanted to see, the depth, the breadth and everything.
A day later @KParthasarathy had sent me this clip of Cape Horn that was much more than what I had asked for. The next day found a book called Ocean Sea by Alessandro Baricco, from our office library. It has a lot to offer in terms of sea.
But then just realized it is about people with some mind issues and might turn out to be a thriller and if so it won't be my kind of book. So I am at a dilemma whether to continue reading or quit now. Will decide few more pages later and save the book for Mom's summer reading.
Mother-in-law has left behind a nice long letter - almost a journal - for her children including children-in-law and grandchildren. Just got our copy in the mail and finished reading at once! Though I have heard some of the stories from her, it felt good hearing from her all over again. I could somewhat relate to her as she could express more in letter than in person. Her steadfast faith had kept her going through the downs and she had lived to see her promised blessings.
I guess that's all news at my end. Enjoy the showers folks; beautiful flowers are just around the corner! Happy April 2012!
* faring vs. fairing - which is the right word to use? Anil? Tracy? KP? Anyone?