Lake Tahoe’s paddleboat Tahoe Queen makes a circuitous route from Zephyr Cove to Emerald Bay

While at our retreat in Lake Tahoe, I captured this photo of the paddle-boat Tahoe Queen on one of its daily tours and I am submitting it for Ed’s Sunday Stills weekly photography feature. Since “circles” is the theme, you will see the circle of the paddle wheel as well as the circular wood structures on the pier in the foreground.

Not an especially amazing photo, but the theme of “circles” brought to mind something I wanted to share from my retreat experience.

I spent a beautiful weekend in Lake Tahoe at a ladies retreat sponsored by our church. In yesterday’s post I introduced the concept of Sobremesa, which was the theme of our retreat.

Spanish culture embraces sobremesa, the time where people gather for dinner, then spend up to two hours just talking and enjoying each other’s company. It is a concept mostly lost to us in today’s busy world, especially in the U.S.

After experiencing some wonderful quality time with the women of my church, I want to find ways to experience a little sobremesa! Family time is so precious, and having recently witnessed my youngest daughter’s college graduation, my time with her is limited before she leaves for her internship. After that, she will move on to her own adult life.

I want to encourage you to dedicate some family time at your main meal to simply talk about the day’s events and draw closer to each other. Believe me, finding time to sit down for 5 minutes, much less two hours, is nearly impossible. When the kids were young, we were always on the go and ate a few fast-food meals in the car on the way to somewhere.

No wonder so many of us are overweight and stressed out!

If you fall into this category, try committing to one family meal a week where you can all spend a few extra minutes talking about the day’s events. Gradually add a few extra minutes each week and make it something the entire family can look forward to. If you are someone who lives alone, think about other ways you can eat a meal with a colleague, friend or family member.

Our friendships may also suffer in our “hurry-up” world. Because we barely have time for our own family members, how can we possibly find time to meet with friends on a regular basis?

Re-connecting with my friends at the retreat and simply having conversations really fed my soul. Conversations connect us together and create new circles of friendships, or re-create former ones. I also made new friends at this retreat and would like to get to know them better.

While it may be unrealistic to have a two-hour lunch with a friend every week, make a little time to meet face-to-face.

I need to practice what I preach. I have a wonderful friend whom I have known since 1980. I consider her one of my closest and best friends and we get together for lunch and shopping every three or four months. We both have retired and have more time, so we need to meet more often. MC, if you are reading this, we need to meet for lunch again, SOON!

One of the songs we sang at the retreat was “Circle of Friends” by Point of Grace. I love the lyrics in this excerpt.

If you weep, I will weep with you
If you sing for joy, the rest of us will lift our voices, too.
But no matter what you feel inside there’s no need to pretend
That’s the way it is in this circle of friends.

During our weekends at the delta, our friends in our windsurf campground often gather spontaneously during the evening meal. They are likely drawn to my hubby’s wonderful BBQ and just bring over their meal to our large communal table. After a great sailing session, dinner can come late, and many of us eat quickly but linger long afterwards just talking about the day.

A wonderful circle of friends, indeed.

Who is in your circle of friends? Do you get the chance to connect on a regular basis?

Embrace the idea of sobremesa and see how it can enhance your time with family and friends.

23 thoughts on “Circles of Friends

  1. I am blessed that I have friends I meet for lunch every other week or so and others that we meet once a month. When our kids were home we always made a point of having dinner together at the table every evening.

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  2. When I was so busy with my full time job my friendships definitely suffered! Now I have made it a point to reconnect with old friends and make some new ones. I cherish the times we can have a family dinner and sit around for hours. it doesn’t happen often with my daughters living in two different states. I do like to have people over and enjoy spending quality time talking and laughing. We all should make that a priority, it is life giving!

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    1. These are all true, Michele! My hubby is a slow eater so sitting around the table happens. We do get some friend time on weekends at the delta–we all cook and potluck together after a day of windsurfing. We can last a while if the evening wind doesn’t take over 🙂

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  3. Beautiful post, Terri, and it does intersect with mine! I have moved a LOT over the years, enduring friendships have been hard to come by. I do have a lot of “friends” but not many close friends. Those few don’t live close so it’s harder to connect. But it is important…

    When we lived in Ecuador, we often met with new friends at local eateries and sat for 2-5 hours, just chatting. I miss that. Of course, life changes, and many of those friends are now living in other countries as well as back here in the US. I love that Facebook lets me connect with them that way, my online gathering spot.

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  4. Sobremesa… While I’ve never this term before I absolutely LOVE it (and plan to incorporate it into my vocabulary).
    I married into an Italian family – who love food almost as much as family. When we take the time to actually sit around the dining table (rather than pick up fast food) we linger for two hours or more… recounting past memories or planning new ones.
    Pinning to my #MLSTL board so I can remember the term – and share it with others!

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    1. HI Molly, thanks for sharing, and wow! I thought the Italians practically invented sobremesa! I remember big family dinners years ago where we would linger and chat, and I miss those days. Now it’s all about hurrying through and getting on your phone 😦


  5. I love that sobremesa is such an important thing in that culture they’ve given it a special name. Our normal practice is to gather around the table each evening, but right now, for various reasons, schedules are wildly disparate, so I’m looking forward to restoration to NORMAL!

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  6. Australia is less of a fast food culture Terri – our family always ate our evening meal around the dining room table (no TV on either) and talked about our day. My husband and I still do the same (with an occasional night in front of the TV if we’re having a treat). I’m also a big fan of catching up with a friend or two each week for a coffee date and chat – it’s how I maintain connection and a lot easier than preparing a meal or going out in the evening (man I sound old!)

    Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM xx
    Leanne |

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  7. Hi Terri thank you for sharing your post at #MLSTL and the importance of a circle of friends. I totally agree that life has become too rushed and we don’t make the time to have family dinners etc. My Saturday Sisters are a wonderful part of o my circle of friends and I enjoy their company twice a week. Have a great week,Terri and don’t forget we also have a blogging circle of friends which is amazing!
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

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  8. I miss my friends around the country, but I hope to see them again soon. That’s the bad part of being in the military – you make great friends then you don’t see them again for some time.

    Thanks for sharing your story at Inspire Me Monday!

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  9. You are so right Terri that we get too caught up in life and forget to communicate. When we visit my husband’s family in Italy we start lunch at 2pm and finish at around 6-7pm!! It is a wonderful way of life. Thank you for sharing with us at #WednesdaysWisdom

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  10. I haven’t had a real circle of friends since high school. I don’t get to see my BFF very often because we live states away from one another. We’re hoping that we’ll be able to get our husband’s to retire and agree to move to the same area so we can be closer. Thanks for sharing at the #AnythingGoes Link Party.

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  11. I have so many friends who are scattered all over the globe. The military has a way of doing that to people. As such, social media allows for the possibility of maintaining connections where, otherwise 400 handwritten letters would have to go out every quarter.

    Make no mistake, though, Terri, nothing on Earth compares to face-to-face time with the people you love and want to love. If given the choice between electronic voyeurism into the lives of all my friends and twenty minutes face to face with one of them, I’ll choose the latter. God bless and thanks.

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