Last night I gathered around a dinner table with some of my favorite women in the world. We feasted on shrimp and grits, and the warmth and richness of the smoked gouda and juicy bacon set the tone of our monthly ritual.
I've been gathering with these women for years in this way, and our group is composed of girls who grew up playing softball and taking beach trips together, girls who married some of our favorite guy friends, sets of sisters, and newer friends and family we have assimilated along life's journeys.
We meet under the pretense of rolling dice and winning prizes and yelling "Big Bunco," but many times we end up drawing names for our coveted prizes and laughing that we still call it Bunco.
These women are my soul sisters.
Around our dinner table just last night, we joked about old crushes on A.C. Slater and Jose Canseco, giggled like school girls while hearing about Jenny's budding romance, rejoiced in prayer over Leslie's Cancer-Free pathology report after her double mastectomy last month, laughed about tae kwon do classes our kids take, shared recipes, recapped 1st birthday parties, reminisced about American Girls, and shared opinions on paint and granite colors.
And that was just last night.
Over the years, these women have celebrated weddings, births of babies, new jobs, and small victories; they've mourned miscarriages, battles with infertility, heartbreak, and death; shown up at the hospital rooms of for heart transplants and new babies and everything in between; and prayed over each other's struggles with parenting, marriage, family, and life. During my most trying and celebratory times, these women have been my champions.
We've even created cookbooks for the basic element that brings us together: time around the table, a shared meal, an open invitation to come as you are and be fed. These recipes are my most cherished because they carry with me not only the taste, but the memories.
Last week I finished reading Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist, and it touched my soul. It made me crave community around the table and it made me celebrate the community that I have. Put it on your list.
Below are some pictures taken from our most recent cookbook, and of course they were all taken when I was pregnant... cue the puffy cheeks...and they capture the spirit of our group--at a wedding, at Halloween Bunco, and--of course--at White Trash Bunco. ;)