The Village Church – A Lesser Communion

I stumbled over this blog post from Jen Wilkin on The Village Blog today.  I’ve always cherished and emphasized the importance of the dinner table, but when questioned about it my words are not nearly as eloquent and descriptive of Jen’s.  So today, I let her do the explaining.  Thank you, Jen, for writing about this crucial part of family time and it’s daily importance!

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Thou preparest a table before me…my cup runneth over. Psalm 23:5

Above the cook top in my kitchen, a sign hangs with a quote from Lord Byron. It reads: “much depends on dinner.” The sign started off as a joke – a little irony directed at the Martha Stewart mindset that anything less than the perfect pork roast might unhinge the cosmos – but as time passed, it became less a witticism and more a manifesto.

When our kids were younger, I remember thinking that family dinners were a tool to bind us together for the time we lived under the same roof. I thought dinners would help Jeff and me raise our children to adulthood with good dialogue and good nutrition. Family dinners were a snap back then. Now, four adolescents and their accompanying schoolwork and schedules makes shared meals more of a challenge, even with our notoriously stingy approach to activities.

But I’ll continue to fight for family dinner around our table. It is where little heads learned to bow in prayer, little hands learned to serve one another, little voices learned “please” and “thank you” and how to take turns in conversation. It is where we learned to read the Word as a family and to talk about how it changes us. More and more, it is where we are all still learning that we would rather be together than apart.

Friendships may wax and wane, as this year’s best friend may be next year’s acquaintance, but family – the relationships worthy of our deepest investments – remains constant. With family, overlapping experience is not a fragile thread but a strong cord, binding us together and lending us the strength we need to navigate the years ahead.

And that’s why much depends on dinner. Though work, school and activities pull us in different directions, nightly dinner is our chance to sit down together and strengthen the cords of family. Dinner is the time we gather to share not just a meal but the stories of our day, our victories and losses, our observations and questions. These conversations may happen at other times, as well, but dinner is the time of day when biblical community consistently takes place in our home.

I hope that we build at our dinner table a bond that holds not just for the 18 or so years in which we share the same roof but for the 60 years after those – years during which our children navigate marriage, children of their own, job successes and failures, moves. Yes, much depends on dinner because dinner deepens our dependence on each other. It binds us together for the long haul. And we need each other for the years ahead.

I am coming to realize that there is only one shared table in this life more holy than that table in my kitchen. This lesser communion we gather for each night whispers of that other table – the breaking of bread, the sharing of truth, a nightly remembrance of what matters most – but its gaze is fixed not backward but forward; it’s not a sacramental meal but a sacred meal. Tonight we gather as parents and children, but one day we will gather as brothers and sisters. Tonight we hunger and thirst for food, but one day our ultimate hunger and thirst will be satisfied. Tonight we give thanks together around a kitchen table, but God willing, one day we will give thanks together around a banquet table in the presence of the Lord.

I want my children there. I want my children’s children there. So, yes, much depends on dinner. No coach or choir director or church program or career supersedes this ritual. Whether we dine on chateaubriand or cereal, this nightly intersection of our lives means strength for today and hope for tomorrow. We will not grow weary of meeting together. A table is prepared for us. This is the place where we are fed.

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30 By 30

Today, I turn 29.

(ugh, the anxiety is already starting to build.

There’s only 365 days till I am *whisper voice* thirty!)

There’s not much time left of my 20’s!  How did it go so fast?  I feel like I blinked and I went from 25 to 29.  Must be a sign that I’m getting older.

In order to make the MOST of my last year, I’ve decided to make a bucket list in random order.  Introducing my 30 things to do before I’m 30.  In short:

30 By 30

  1. Go to Vegas with Robby
  2. Do something spontaneous – learned to play golf!  May
  3. Get pictures taken by the Texas A&M Barn
  4. Go snow skiing with friends – Went to Aspen, CO in February
  5. Learn to play tennis – Started lessons in March!
  6. Take cooking classes
  7. Lose 10 lbs – Done!  Now, to keep it off……
  8. Make a Baby Rigney (this one makes my hubby nervous, haha)
  9. Move into our 1st home
  10. Get a dog
  11. Invest more time with family  – Caught up with lots of family in February at my parents house, went with family to see our cousins in Footloose!
  12. Take my mom on a trip
  13. Go to NYC with Robby
  14. Grow a garden
  15. Buy a gun – Got my 1st gun on April 7th.
  16. Throw a dinner party for friends – BBQ’d with friends on April 9, 2013.  1st of many dinner parties to come.
  17. Make 3 new friends (or more!)
  18. Do one Random Act of Kindness each month – Donated Blood in Feb, Picked up trash in parking lot in March
  19. Take Yoga classes
  20. Go wine tasting in the Hill Country
  21. Go horseback riding
  22. Start/Finish a new devotional book – Started Reading “A Woman of Love” a study of the book of Ruth.
  23. Spend more time in prayer – Daily!
  24. Volunteer somewhere local – Permian Basin Rehab Center Telethon (March), Bountiful Baskets (May)
  25. Scrap book my trip with Mom and Zachary to Disney (way back in 2009)
  26. Sew something for my home
  27. Make home-made gifts for friends – Made fruit jellies!  Yum!
  28. Learn 3 new classical piano pieces – currently working on a piece by Beethoven
  29. See 3 musicals – Shrek the Musical (January), Footloose (February), and Wicked (March)
  30. Read 30 books!
  • School of Fear, by Gitty Daneshvari   SO CUTE!  My nephew read it (6th grade) and loved it.   A fun tween fiction.
  • Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle – a MUST read for everyone.  Witty and heartfelt, you’ll love this book!
  • The Paris Wife by Paula McLain – heart strings will be pulled when you read about the crazy life of the Hemmingways in 1920’s Paris
  • The Three Martini Play Date – had me giggling and taking notes about what to expect when we have kids.  GREAT read for a new dad
  • Ghostopolis – comic book style, read this with a student in tutoring.  Good story line!!
  • Maine – this one took a while to get through, lots of family drama and history.  Easy to relate to, though
  • Missing Dad – LOVE this book!   Everyone should read it and pass it along to friends        

 

So, today I will celebrate.

Tomorrow, I will start the 30X30.

Pizza Challenge

Robby and Alison decided to make pizza for dinner.  The issue, they like two very different styles of pizza!  So each came up with their own pizza.  Of course, an argument over which one was the best came about.  So, they need YOU to decide!.

Please  vote on which pizza you would want to try by commenting on this post.

(For the sake of fairness in the challenge, the creator of each pizza will not be named.)

 

Pizza #1:  Mediterranean Magic!

Mediterranean Mess

Mediterranean Magic

This delicious dish starts with a basil pesto and mild sausage accompanied by Kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes, grilled artichoke hearts, sauteed spinach, mushrooms,  grilled yellow bell peppers, and sprinkled with a provolone cheese.  The crust is a 100% whole wheat thin crust, compliments of HEB.  Light and healthy, this dish leaves you wanting more of it’s tangy twist on pizza.

Pizza #2: Little Slice of Heaven

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Little Slice of Heaven

This divine pie starts with some Buitoni Pizza Sauce spread thinly over a whole wheat HEB thin crust and topped with sausage browned to perfection, sauteed spinach leaves, crushed red pepper flakes, mushrooms, grilled artichoke hearts, onions, and provolone cheese. The crust is cooked to just the right temperature in order to leave a crispy and satisfying taste. When you try this pie you just might think you have died and gone to heaven.

So there you have it.  Please vote and let them know your thoughts!

-Thanks

My Single Saturdays Revisited

I love being married!   Date night last night was fun and dinner was fantastic.  Robby surprised me with flowers and my favorite cookies when he came home from work.  Awwwe!

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And then, we went to Osaka for hibachi and sushi.  Oh, this man deffinitely knows the way to my heart – good food!   We always have fun while at hibachi because it gives us a chance to talk and catch up while the food is prepared in front of us.  Last night’s realization was that we are learning what the other likes and we’re able to order for the other one easily.  There wasn’t even a questions about what to order last night – filet (medium rare) and scallops with fried rice, cucumber salad, edemame, and a sushi roll.  BOOM!  Just like that, we were on the same page.  I love it!

Hibachi is great!
Hibachi is great!

But today….I sing a different tune.   I’m happy to be back to my “old’ way of life – being single on a Saturday morning!

While single, my Saturday morning were pretty routine and I was very happy with that.  Wake up late (9:00am….that’s late for a teacher!), grab a cup of coffee and breakfast, surround myself with magazines and blankets on the couch, and catch up on Food Network and HGTV Shows.   *sigh*  Those were lovely days.  I never woke up early enough to make breakfast during the week days, so breakfast was exciting for the weekend!   After leisurely reading and being lazy, around noon I would start to grade papers, clean, and work out, and get ready for whatever the Saturday night would hold for that weekend.  Saturdays were MY day.  Saturdays were relaxing, restful, and productive in the afternoon.

This Saturday, I relish in the quiet and peace in the house.  Robby is playing in a golf tournament.   Daddy Jim is gone to work a bit and then play gin rummy .  And me…..I’m reliving my single Saturdays of days gone by.   Brand new coffee cups welcomed me this morning with a hot cup of coffee and toast from our Bountiful Baskets pack.

I love my new coffee cups!
I love my new coffee cups!

On TV, Giada just shared her wonderful recipe (just for me, I’m sure of it.  Only Giada knows how much a LOVE risotto!) for risotto with bacon and kale

Bacon and Kale Risotto
Bacon and Kale Risotto

I’m being inspired on HGTV for renovating a house that I don’t have.  But it’s fun to dream, right?!?  Yard Crashers make me wish we didn’t live in a drought…or made more money to pay for water to take care of a lush backyard.   I want a pergola and a water feature and a built in, fully functioning, our door kitchen in the shade that over looks our pool with a swim up bar.  Who doesn’t, right?

Dream pool with outdoor kitchen
Dream pool with outdoor kitchen

Yes, today is laziness at it’s best.  And I couldn’t be happier!

And now….it’s time to hit the gym, go grocery shopping, and return to the real world.

Bucket List?

Yes, yes.  I know that most New Years resolutions are long gone by now since it’s the middle of January.  (Kuddos to you if you’re still keeping up with your resolutions!)  But a resolution is short, and I’m not up for making a short list.   No, I want a bucket list.  A bucket list is your dream things to do before you…well….kick the bucket.

I’m not planning on kicking the bucket any time soon, just incase you’re wondering.  However, I am nearing the end of my 20’s, and want to go out with a bang!   I am thinking up 30 things to do for my 29th year of life.  My ’30 by 30′ list.

Here’s where YOU come in.  I need some ideas!  In December I started drafting my list.  I only wrote down 5 things, and was quite content with those 5 things up until today.  It made me wonder, “Am I that boring that there are only 5 things I want to do?”   Nooooo, that’s not true.  It’s just that I’m very practical and realistic.  ‘Ski the Swiss Alps’  or ‘Go to the international space station’ will not be on my list.  I could list off 30 books I want to read, but that would be lame, too.  I need more than books….but less than the space station.   Hmmm, where is a happy medium?!?!

So, what do you suggest?  What would be on your bucket list?

Being with Friends

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” 
― Jane AustenNorthanger Abbey

Robby and I had the JOY & DELIGHT of spending time with both sets of college friends during the holidays.  It amazes me that time nor distance has changed our affection for our friends, but rather strengthened it!  I guess that is a sign that we love whole heartedly and not “by halves” as Jane Austen put it.

The first group was my college girls.  We gathered together in Miranda’s adorably chic and comforting home (thanks for hosting, Mir!  The food was FANTASTIC!) and caught up on life.  It has been nearly 2 years since al of us could join together with our male counterparts, and it’s been 1 whole year since the group of girls were together at our engagement party.  What a delight it was to see the all of our friends, the husbands and boyfriends, meet the new babies that have joined our lives, and have all of us together.

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Sarah and baby Crosby

Sarah and baby Crosby

Katy and baby Jack

Katy and baby Jack

Miss Ginger, too cute for words!

Miss Ginger, too cute for words!

Sarah, Crystal, Miranda, and baby Crosby

Sarah, Crystal, Miranda, and baby Crosby

Jennifer, Jessica, Katy, and me

Jennifer, Jessica, Katy, and me

The men!  Robby, Justin, Dan, & Johnny Mac

The men! Robby, Justin, Dan, & Johnny Mac

THEN!   We went to Rockport for New Years and celebrated with Robby’s friends.

The guys on NYE (and me)

The guys on NYE (and me)

Unfortunately Sam got sick and wasn’t able to join us, but he was in Rockport with us.  The guys played golf and enjoyed the warm weather at the coast.  I soaked up the alone time and read for most of New Years Eve on the back porch over looking the water.  *sigh* Wish I could be there now!

And OF COURSE we had to go to Boiling Pot while we were there.  It was good, possibly even better than the time that I cooked it on my own!

Enjoying Boiling Pot on NYE

Enjoying Boiling Pot on NYE

AND THEN….

Robby went to the Cotton Bowl to watch the Texas A&M Aggies win with his college friends.  Love this group of guys!

Cotton Bowl 2013, A&M WIN!

Cotton Bowl 2013, A&M WIN!

A&M Cotton Bowl Kyle&Robby

Kyle and Robby

What a great way to wrap up the end of 2012 – with lots of friends!   We love you all and miss you dearly.