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A change of seasons

November 11, 2006

I was talking to a friend over the (wonderful, amazing) weekend, and besides further cementing my opinion that she is brilliant, she made me feel much better about finally coming to a decision about something.

post10.jpgMonday Night Dinner has come to mean so much more than just what we eat that night. Many of you who read this know what it actually means, but for those of you who don’t, I’ll elaborate a little bit.

As Tom and I were getting more involved at Sandals, we naturally got to know more people who worked for the church.post09.jpg We connected with one couple in particular, and having them over for dinner a couple of times, we found out that due to where they lived, and their hectic lives, they ate dinner “out” every single night. Mostly fast food. This really bummed me out, and it occurred to me that if I were to make dinner one night a week–the same night every week–that they would have the chance to come for a home cooked meal at least once that week. If they couldn’t make it, that was ok, but if they realized they could, even last minute, they would know that they could drop in and dinner would be waiting for them.

It also occurred to me that there were single people who worked for my church, and chances were that their diet consisted largely of fast food as well, so I should probably let them know that they were welcome to come over too! Not to mention their friends, and I’d hate to leave anyone else who works in the church office out…you can see where this is headed.

My initial emailed invite list included about twenty-five people, with a note that they were to invite anyone they thought might not be eating well that night. It was awesome!! Each week I would make a big dinner, enough for whomever let me know they were coming, as well as some extra for those who may have realized last minute they could make it. A main dish, a side dish, a veggie and a salad, and dessert was up to them. I think in the first three months there were maybe two nights there was no dessert.

Not all 25 showed up, mind you. At first it was just a few couples and a single or two. A couple weeks after that it was a few more–some I had added to my list because I had missed them when I created the original list, some because word started to get around, and I didn’t want to leave anyone out.

Three months and twelve or so MNDs later and I was making dinner for 40-50 people a week. People would show up that I met that night for the first time. Some people who showed up didn’t know other people who were there, even though they’d both been goingpost06.jpg to Sandals for years! Having only gone to Sandals for a little over a year, that blew my mind the most. “What do you mean you guys don’t know each other?? How is that possible??” Every week was more amazing than the one before. So much talking, laughing, loving, sharing and caring, all going on in my house. My house? Really?? You don’t understand. Before God put this on my heart, I would not have let you, your brother, or your sick mama into my house. It’s tiny, old, and looks dirty even when it’s clean. Which is not often. But God works wonders, no?

post08.jpgOne of the most treasured nights was when the worship team came for dinner. Carlos holds rehearsal on Monday nights, so they were never able to make it. He told me one Sunday though that if we could schedule it, he’d forego practice to come see what all the hype was about. We made a date, and I let everyone know that I was only going to be doing dinner for the worship team, since I didn’t think I could handle the “regular” crowd in addition to that pretty big group.

It ended up being one of the most special nights of my life. Not only because I got to have them all here, to spoil as a way of thanking them for what they do for me every Sunday, but because Carlos brought his guitar in, and held “practice” in my living room–Carlos, Becca, Sarah D–singing, worshipping God, in my home. I can’t express how wonderful it was.

post11.jpgAnyway, back to cooking for 40-50 every week…it quickly became too much for me. It was a three day event–Friday afternoon and Saturday morning were spent cleaning, Saturday afternoon was grocery shopping (Costco, plus two different grocery stores), and Sunday was church from 6:45am to 1pm, then food prep, and/or cooking ahead of time anything I could get away with. And Monday was cooking all day, while also working at my full-time job (from home, but still).

I started having MND every other week, and then turned it into a “pot-luck”. After fighting it for so many months, I finally had to take everyone up on their offer to help by bringing food. It was very kind of them, and we still had nice dinners, but I have to say….it just wasn’t the same. Schedules had changed and those who had inspired the idea weren’t ever able to make it anymore, and since I wasn’t even cooking for everyone…you get the idea.

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In talking with this friend, and sharing my sadness over not having the passion to pull these off any longer, she shared the concept of certain things being “seasonal”. I didn’t need to wonder why my heart wasn’t in them anymore, but more importantly, I didn’t need to be sad about it. And that most importantly, I shouldn’t let the fact that I would be disappointing many people make my decision for me. I wasn’t really doing it for them anyway, I was doing it for me. Or some might say God. Whatever. I didn’t need to feel guilty, that’s the point.

And so I don’t anymore.  I’ve convinced myself that it allows me the opportunity to get to know people better–now that I have had the opportunity to meet so many people, it’s easy for me to have them over a few at a time for even more “relational” meals.

post07.jpgI will miss “MNDs”…the element of surprise when the doorbell rang (who’s it gonna be??), directing the food line through the kitchen, the sounds and smells and sights of Dinnertime, the look of contentment on faces of full-bellied people, the volume that only multiple conversations can produce, Dance Dance Revolution, Buggin’ Peanut, the realization that people have been in my kitchen cleaning for the past half-hour…(every week I was surprised! Go ADD)…and the special conversations between Tom and I after everyone had left. But I do know–once again because of my beautiful, wonderful friend–that I have not so much given up something as I have allowed one season to transition into another. And with each season, my life becomes more amazing.

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Plus, I can apparently come up with any number of random parties like “Smoothies & Hugs” or “Caramel Apple Making” to get big groups of you over here for a couple of hours. Don’t think I won’t think of more.

post02.jpg Thank you, Friends.

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14 comments

  1. We loved visiting during MND. You are amazing cooking and opening up your home for so many people, it would have driven me crazy every week. Many people connected because of you.


  2. It’s hard to express what is in my heart.

    Here is a virtual hug.

    #
    *
    * /-I
    🙂 ——-
    * \-I
    *
    #


  3. Didn’t post correctly like I made it. There’s a hug for you on Sunday in reserve.

    Snap


  4. Didn’t post correctly like I made it. There’s a hug for you on Sunday in reserve.

    Snap


  5. You have expressed what’s on your heart. I totally understand. That is one wise, pretty friend you have.

    I’m bummed that I missed out on the MND’s. They sounded wonderful. But I will have to catch one of your theme parties for sure! I’ll let you know, so you can fortify yourself for my tribe busting through your home. 🙂


  6. So sad I never made it to MND but i always did appreacaite the invite. The invites mean more than you know, especailly for a single gal like me. If you were siting next to me right now you would see my eyes welling up because I think you are so awesome and I only wish there was time enough for everyone to hang and connect. I did love the caramel apple night and can’t wait for the next idea.


  7. Let me wipe the tears from my eyes! Hmm, now my wheels are turning. Hmm.
    lets do lunch this week. h


  8. Sorry we missed MND however the apples were very tasty. And I’ve loved getting to know you and your fam. I hope to get to know you even more!!!


  9. It was at MND that Matt and I said to eachother… this is what Sandals was meant to be… it was a vision of ours years ago playing out in your home! I can’t wait to see what cool thing is in for next seaso with the precious Mays family! Count us in!
    T


  10. Brandi, you are amazing. Thank you for loving us so much. No one will ever forget monday night dinners… I know you have inspired others to think outside of the box as we seek to live out community. Love. Love. Love.


  11. Brandi, I was so impressed with this concept of MND’s, and very grateful to have participated in a couple of them, especially the night my hubby was able to come…thank you for opening your home, thank you for opening your life, and I am looking forward to share “themes” with you…sue


  12. i love you. i needed that hug and kiss this morning thanks friend! i hope your week is awesome 🙂


  13. i miss mnd. I want to bring burgundy.


  14. mnd was incredible. I only made it to a few of them but they were awesome. Now we can invite you over for mnd at our house.

    thank you for what you have done for so many.



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