I sat across from her, a woman I barely knew, sipping coffee, listening, sharing and hearing stories and dreams. Her heart was contagious with hope and bold desire – she wanted to live her life as an offering, a love offering for Jesus.

We both spoke of hope that day.  It was not long after that meeting that she invited me to attend her first offering to women, a Red Tent Dinner in her home. I knew I had received a gift from my friend’s heart, an extravagant love offering.

The night came.  I shared a meal with beautiful women over good wine, sumptuous food, and stories from their hearts. It was a refreshing departure from the normal routine of my life, an intrusion of love inviting me to release my tight grip and to take time to sit at a table of grace. It was a foretaste of glory divine, an aroma from Heaven inviting me to envision and dream of the coming feast we will enjoy together on the Day of our Lord.

That is my friend, Tracy: a sweet invitation to let go, take time to listen to love and risk awakening to desire and dreams.   I dream of starting a blog soon and one of the quotes I will cite is her words:

“To give and receive you must first take a seat at the Table of Grace.”

The Red Tent Dinner was an extension of the heart of Jesus through the women at that table, an extension of my friend’s heart for women to take time and space to enjoy Sabbath rest once a month for a couple of hours.

Her invitation to attend required that I let go of my false belief that I am necessary for others to have all their needs met AND that my schedule was just too full.

Jan Meyers Proett in her book, “Listening to Love”

“As we start to reintroduce Sabbath (rest) realities back into our lives, we remember more the thing we really miss…an intimate, abiding, relationship with Jesus, our Home…Jesus, in his love is saying, ‘Please allow something to be lacking.  For just a little while don’t consider yourself imperative to the progress of the world.  And don’t consider yourself complete without me.’

Stunningly simple – I miss being Home.

Just a couple of months ago I was pleasantly surprised  by Love’s voice, beckoning me to sit in the Home of my Heart at His Table of Grace. I caught a glimpse of my bracelet…

dream bracelet (2)

Jesus reminded me to dream.  I called Tracy to invite her to bring all of her heart for women to host a Red Tent Weekend to Remember here in Texas.  Without hesitation she replied, “YES!”

Lovely women came to a lovely home of grace for a space in time that He had planned.  As I write, the aroma of the weekend is palpable, the memories of the faces of grace at the table…I can feel the ache for Home…smell the fragrance of Love.  I am going to sit now for the afternoon and soak in them – the memories.

I hope you get to attend a local Red Tent Dinner and I hope you get to experience a Red Tent Weekend to Remember.  And, watch out…Love is contagious!  Letting go to take time and space to connect with Jesus at his Table of Grace might just inspire you to DREAM!  In the meantime, here is an easy meal that I often choose to serve when I want to invite others to dream at my table. It is simple to make and affords me time to just be.  I hope it does the same for you.  It is so nice to be writing in this moment because dinner is already done and in the refrigerator (Made this last night!).

LAZY-DAY OVERNIGHT LASAGNA

Ingredients                                                                                                    Instructions

1 pound ground beef or mild Italian Sausage          In a large skillet, cook meat over medium heat until
1 (26 oz.) Jar Spaghetti Sauce                                    thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain well;
1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce                                        add spaghetti sauces and water and blend well. In a
1 cup water                                                                    medium bowl, combine Ricotta cheese, chives,
1 15 oz. container Ricotta cheese                              oregano and egg; mix well.  In an ungreased 9×13”
2 T. chopped fresh chives or green onion                baking dish, spread 1½ cups of meat sauce.  Top
½ tspn. dried oregano leaves                                      with ½ of each of the noodles, cheese mixture and
1 egg                                                                               mozzarella.  Top with remaining meat sauce and
8 oz. uncooked lasagna noodles                                sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Cover; refrigerate
1 16 oz. package sliced (or shredded)                       12 hours or overnight. (works with as few as 5 hours)
Mozzarella                                                                      Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Uncover and bake for 50-60 min
2 T grated parmesan cheese                                       or until noodles are tender and Casserole is bubbly.


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Ellen Oelsen lives in the Texas Hill Country with her husband of 24 years. She is a mother of 4 children and loves their 2 dogs and 1 cat. Her hobbies include cooking, nature, reading, plays, and two stepping. She delights in offering hospitality of the heart and creating spaces of care, rest, play and reflection to inspire hope. She is beginning to expose the writer within her.
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