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I love to laugh and love with my family, read, exercise, cook and sew, all the while giving thanks to God for his immeasureable love and faithfulness to me.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sip and Savor Wine Tasting

One thing about myself that I have learned is that I have to be pushed to have people over.  Does that sound horrible to write/say out loud?  What I guess I mean is that, in general, I'm pretty introverted and feel most comfortable hangin' with my fam at home.  It is my default mode.

That being said, about a year ago, I felt the Lord was challenging me on this and calling me to step out of my comfort zone a little.  Not that all of a sudden we'd be throwing huge parties every weekend, but to make more of a concerted effort to invite other families into our home and share food and fellowship, all the while remembering that it can be perfectly imperfect.  To be a little more willing to say yes that that one thing He was asking me to do.  Reading Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist as well as reading this book as well as this one has helped.
A few weeks ago a little idea started percolating in my mind.  We've had quite a few new people move into our neighborhood within the last year so I thought it might be fun to have the women over for a wine tasting.  Winters around here can be pretty brutal and everyone mostly stays hunkered down in their homes, so this would be an opportunity to re-connect and meet the new folks.

Of course, like most women, I immediately went to Pinterest to get some inspirations.  And then I became overwhelmed with all of the magazine-worthy, professional-styled photos and was about ready to bail.  But... Then I took a breath and started focusing on what I could do with what I already had and things began to take shape.

First things first, the menu.  Since this was going to be at 7:30 pm I knew I'd just do some light appies and simple desserts.  Caprese kabobs, various cheeses, Prosciutto, bread/crackers, olives and almonds.  Rich dark chocolate brownies with white chocolate chips, strawberries, stuffed-raspberries and chocolate truffles with pistachios.

When I am hosting, I like to pull out all of my serving pieces in advance and then I put a post-it on each piece so I know what will go in where.  For some reason this, along with setting the table ahead of time, makes me feel calmer.
I kept the centerpiece the same from Easter  with the silver and succulents and just added in some extra candles and the wine glasses with extra corks.  Easy-peasy.
A friend from church that I volunteer with, who is responsible for the special needs ministry, also sells Uppercase Living on the side.  She happened to have the initials of everyone who was coming and graciously let me have them for the wineglasses.  If you know me at all, you know that I love a good monogram, so these favors were perfect!
I had asked everyone to bring a bottle of their favorite wine to share.  This free printable made it easy for us to keep track of our notes and thoughts on each of the different vinos.
Lala had given me these napkins a while ago and I had never used them...this little gathering seemed like the perfect reason to break them out--ha ha!!
I wrote out a few questions to spark conversation as well.  There were various levels of familiarity among the women, so it was great to hear everyone's thoughts as well as to keep things flowing.  I used these as a starting point.
We had such a lovely time just talking, laughing and drawing closer to each other.  Later on in the evening, J came down and joined us.  I love the fact that he felt comfortable enough to come and hang with us and didn't shy away from adding in his thoughts to our discussions.  I'm blessed to have such a man as him!
This little 'sip and savor' gathering was a perfect reminder that, as Shauna Niequist wrote in her book Bread and Wine, when we celebrate the sharing of food, "it reminds [us] of the joy found in a life around the table.  It's about the way God teaches and nourishes people as they nourish the people around them."

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