So it's been about a year since we started our little neighborhood gathering on Friday nights. It all started when our good friends were having a rough time last summer with a trial of some kind and we just wanted to give them some rest. So we invited them over, fed their family pizza, put on a movie for the children, ministered to their souls as best as we could, and then sent them on their way. At that time I made a pizza for the kids and one for us adults and there were plenty of leftovers.
After that, we started having them over every Friday. In the meantime, our other good friends came home from being gone most of the summer and we immediately invited them to come over on Fridays as well. And then we got new next-door neighbors (whom we adore) and they have three children and so we thought, "Why not?" and they started coming too. A few months later, Steve's brother and his family moved down the street and so, of course they had to come! (In case you all are wondering what kind of strange neighborhood we live in, we live at my husband's work and so most of our neighbors are also coworkers of my husband so we all know each other.)
Anyway though, back to the story. Very quickly our house was getting run-over by children every Friday night and we loved it. The parents got to mingle and wind down from the week. The kids loved seeing each other and eating pizza together. Food got to be a bit of a problem because I just couldn't logistically make a enough pizzas for everyone anymore so I settled on making four and now everyone just brings something potlucky to share. Someone always brings dessert as well. Seriously, it's one big party. Everywhere you look there's a child--our house isn't all that large. If it were bigger, I'd invite more people.
Most of the time us women end up in the kitchen talking (surprise, surprise) and the men are either outside playing with the kids or watching the movie with them. It's one of the only times I've found that I can be with other adults and not be worrying about my kids the whole time. I can actually sit and have a conversation. The kids are so distracted by one another and they all play fairly well together. Now that it's summer, the kids have been playing outside a lot and really ditching the movie. Fine with us! I think the men like the playing as well. There have been many nerf gun wars and sword fights turned to wrestling matches.
Coordinate with your friends. Make a weekly tradition (or biweekly or monthly). We all need to de-stress and live a little. It's amazing what a bit of fellowship with fellow believers can do for your soul! I'm so thankful for all of my neighbors and the continual encouragement they are to me. We get to just do life together. We need that! I'm also thankful for what God does when we all get around the table and remember the bounty that He has laid in our laps. Hopefully, when our kids see us sharing and laughing and loving, they will get a glimpse of what heaven will be like when we will all be seated around God's table, soaking in His radiance and basking in His glory and they'll want to be a part of it.