“Welcome to Moe’s!” shout the employees in unison from behind the counter as hungry customers enter on kids’ night. On a typical week we join six or more families for food, fun, and fellowship in this restaurant where we’ve nurtured community in an unexpected place.
It began simply enough, as an occasional night out. With time, however, it has become an almost indispensable part of our routine: a place to gather with friends to talk sports, current events, and religion; discuss our kids’ classes; celebrate birthdays.
We love the food—and obviously the moms enjoy a night out of the kitchen—but it’s the fellowship that brings us back week after week. The kids take decks of cards; trade Silly Bandz; even play Frisbee or football outside when the weather’s warm. The employees make us feel welcome and appreciated even though we’re a large, sometimes noisy crowd that tends to stay until closing time (or beyond).
These evenings benefit us all, but I think the men profit the most. My husband spends his days at work and his weekends at home and church. Although the kids and I have day-to-day friends—families we spend time with at homeschool classes and events—my husband is rarely a part of it.
Moe’s nights bring the husbands together. They enjoy crowding around a table for guy talk as much as the women enjoy their time. Sometimes we just stop and listen to them, savoring the sounds of male camaraderie and strengthening friendships.
These weekly evenings at Moe’s are an important tradition for us. I encourage you to look for similar opportunities for your family.
Community is our theme for (in)courage’s second year. Have you or your family grown a community in an unexpected place?
31 Days of Encouragement | January Desktop Wallpaper Links
Please join me on my blog, My Home Sweet Home, during the month of January for a post series entitled 31 Days of Encouragement. My goal is to combine image and verse in a meaningful way.
You can always download the monthly (in)courage desktop wallpapers using the “Calendar” link in the navigation bar just below the blog header. Here are links to January’s wallpaper both with and without the calendar.
Small (1280 x 800 pixels): with calendar | without calendar
Large (1680 x 1050 pixels): with calendar | without calendar
By Dawn Camp, My Home Sweet HomeLeave a Comment
Loving the wallpaper for January.
My theme for 2011 is NEW so that verse, well, it’s perfect!
Holley Gerth says
Dawn, I love this image of all of you gathering–like an Old Testament feast! Wish I could drop by for a hug. Saving one for next time I see you!
We had the same thing going at our Moe’s. They knew each of our names…and we theirs. They knew what each one would order…though we would occasionally throw them a curve ball! 🙂
Welcome to Moes!
Dawn Camp says
Karen, a couple of weeks ago my oldest daughter and I went to our dear Annie Downs’s book signing party and were in a different part of town on Moe’s night. We decided to go to another Moe’s in that part of town, but it felt really weird not knowing the employees or anyone else. Really, I guess that’s just what it’s like at most any other restaurant, huh? 🙂
There is something about gathering around food, isn’t there? It seems to make an instant community. One day I saw two young men – they looked like University students – having lunch on the sidewalk with a woman in tattered clothes and a cardboard sign. It’s an image that hangs around the edges of my mind…an image of community. Different from what you’ve described, but very much the same.
Thanks for the beautiful desktop image, Dawn! Your work is always so beautiful and I’m grateful that you share it here, and allow us to share it, too. I’ve got it downloaded on my monitor at work.
Jenni Saake "InfertilityMom" says
“Have you or your family grown a community in an unexpected place?”
The internet was the last place in the world I expected to find community, especially in the mid 90s when it was still primarily used only as a business tool or an outlet for porn. But God is a God of wonderful surprises.
It started as a community of brokenness, a desperate attempt to know and be know by others who got the crushing pain. It’s become a place of blessing, grace and beauty, one that’s far outgrown us or our wildest prayers at its inception. It is
Hannah’s Prayer Ministries and our online Community Forums, where families around the world can connect and find understanding in the depth of anguish over shattered dreams of infertility, the death of a baby at any time from conception through early infancy, adoption struggles, and even through season of healing as God brings contentment in being a family or two or leads into new joys and challenges of parenthood. This was the community God led us to launch 16 years ago, and it has been his blessed place of refuge for 10s of thousands since.
“Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” <3
Dawn Camp says
Jenni, what an awesome story. I’ve heard of people staying in touch for years with groups of women they met online when their pregnancies were at the same time.
Living the Balanced Life says
This is awesome Dawn! Sounds like so much fun! We used to home church and our Sunday meal together was very awesome, and kinda like your Moe’s dinner. We’d all eat and the kids would then play outside, skateboarding, volleyball, soccer, so much fun! And we adults got to sit around and talk without *too* much interruption!
We recently joined a church where we are centered around small groups and I really enjoy this as well!
Get your priorities straight
Dawn Camp says
Bernice, any time the kids are entertained and the adults can talk is a happy time, right? 🙂
This is awesome. I love Moe’s, but I love hearing about the community you’ve created even more. What’s funny is that just the other night my husband and I were at our local Moe’s, and there was a large group of probably about 20 or more people seated at thrown-together tables right in the middle of the restaurant. It was great seeing people laughing and sharing together. You’re right; community can be formed in the most unlikely of places, and thank God for that!
Dawn Camp says
Meg, so maybe this is a Moe’s epidemic? That’s awesome!
Ashleigh Baker (Heart and Home) says
I envy your Moe’s nights.
I have a funky little piece of community in a mountain town full of outdoorsy bohemians with dreadlocks and Merrell shoes. I love every bit of it–the long chats about culture in the coffee shop and lifesnaps while picking up milk from our dairy delivery farmer… but there’s that little bit of all-family community that I miss. I suppose a lot of that will return when my husband does, but until then, I look with longing at Moe’s nights.
Dawn Camp says
Ashleigh, you made me tear up. I wish I could whisk you away to Atlanta to hang with us!
To Dawn C., Dawn F., Lisa, Tara, Iris, Cheryl, Karen, all the husbands, all the kids, Chris and our great Moe’s crew, and all you others who come occasionally, thanks for all the great Wednesday nights of fun, food, and fellowship. We look forward to many more! Great article, Dawn!
The Wofford family
Galen Pearl says
What a great tradition. I love the inclusion of several families together. I’m going to check out your 31 days right now. I am sure that will be a regular stop this month.
This is a really great idea! My husband and I have our weekly date nights and were just talking about being more intentional about gathering with like-minded believers on a regular basis.
All of us say we’ll do it and love it whenever we get a chance. But if we don’t put it on our calendars as a regular part of our lives, no matter how much we want to and say we will, it seems it’s several months about before it happens again.
“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you — that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” ~ Romans 1:11-12 (ESV)
Dawn Camp says
Sunny, this is a beautiful alternative: no one has to cook or clean!
Avery Kronz says
I look forward to Moe’s every wednesday!! It’s my favorite place to go and get to know everyone even better. thanks for the post Mrs. Camp, Love it!:)
Thanks for your words of encouragement about community … and, thanks for the very beautiful desktop wallpaper! I love it, and love the verse … thanks for blessing us in this way.
Kathy C. says
I love the picture of the crepe myrtle branch, and look forward to their re-emergence in the spring!
My husband and I have taken a long time to find a new church after moving to the Dallas, TX area after 25 years in Houston, and we never dreamed it would take so long to find a church and have community again, and we certainly learned how valuable is the privilege of a church home and the community to be found there.
I know this doesn’t qualify as an unexpected place to find community, but I just had to say how thankful we are for a new place to build community again.
Dawn Camp says
Kathy, my 2nd son is in college in Dallas now. I hope you find a new community soon.
Susan Beth says
What a great concept! I would love to have something like this in our lives. may have to work on it over the next couple of months!
Amy Sullivan says
First of all, who doesn’t love Moe’s? So yummy!
Your question is tough. I tend to control so “unexpected community” is tough for me. Now, that’s something to think about.
the Blah Blah Blahger says
I was totally waiting for the wallpaper and missed it somehow! ; )
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