The Lost Art of Sunday Dinner

It’s Sunday morning circa 1987 and I can see my Grandma Rue, standing at the stove in a flowered smock dolloping hush puppy batter into hot oil. Other simmering pots hold collards and a picnic shoulder, green beans, butter beans and potatoes.

On some visits, mom goes with Granddaddy to church. Growing up in tobacco territory, my grandfather worked and fished and gardened and made sure my mom and her siblings had perfect attendance in Sunday School though little else was perfect in the family.

Being a kid, and a shy one at that, I’d choose to stay on with Grandma as she shelled peas or snapped beans for Sunday dinner (aka lunch to those above the Mason Dixon line) into the metal bowl between her feet.

As little rolls finish rising in the oven, family pours in the back door after Sunday service, waiting to savor the midday meal.

Grand kids clamor for choice seating – the green stool- pulled up to the bar. Granddaddy pulls off his tie and hugs everybody’s neck. The filigree clock points to 12:30, our most gracious heavenly Father is thanked, the feast begins.

And sometimes there’s coconut cake.

***

The calendar pages turn over like rows in Granddaddy’s garden and if I’m not careful it’s easy to forget my roots.

To remind me, I have a few pieces of those earthly heirlooms- somehow I came away with the green step-stool and the tattered timepiece- but I know my greater treasure lies above.

No time machine can roll back the years but by moving forward with the Lord, he shows us how to regain those lost arts with a fresh perspective.

 

Where is he calling you?

Back to the bible? Back to church? Back home?

No matter how long you’ve been gone, He’s waiting to welcome you to the feast filled with good things like Faith, hope and love.

***

It’s Sunday morning again well over 30 years later. Since my last visit back south a whole year rolled by. The grandparents long laid to rest but the power of sharing a meal is still alive.

After a Saturday of celebrating, we call the aunts and corral the twins for breakfast. {Two year olds require a lot of corralling…}

We fill our plate with fresh picked strawberries, crispy bacon and eggs. Mini muffins just the right size for tiny hands and hot sausage for the bravest of the diners.

And there’s left over strawberry cake.

This time we drag chairs from the formal dining room up to the big round kitchen table piling everyone in and from the mouths of babes we join in the blessing.

God our Father, God our Father

We thank you, we thank you

For our many blessings, for our many blessings

A-men, A-men.

Those simple Sunday traditions aren’t lost after all.

They’re just right where we left them.

Faith. Hope. Home & Love…tell me what time honored traditions you’re looking to rekindle? I’d love to pray for you! And if you haven’t gotten your set of scripture cards, won’t you go and put your email in here?

Sometimes I link up with these lovely blogs

When You’re Undone by Unfinished Business

For months on end I’ve been bound by the unfinished.

Projects, post, prayers, maintenance, medications, ministries and ideas… They pile high on my table, spill into list form in my planner and sound alarms on my phone for fear that I’ll forget to complete something.

When I do accomplish a task it feels so good to check it off as finished- whether it’s organizing the cabinets, rearranging furniture or just replying to an email.

But when I fail, it’s like I stall out under a cloud of defeat. Berating myself for my lack of ability to achieve and searching to soothe my soul with even the tiniest seed of a small success.

In this frenzy of needing to feel accomplished I signed up for an online class to teach me how to “Create + Complete” a project that matters – hoping to reignite the art of writing that has lain dormant this winter. And though the content has been nothing short of life giving and inspiring, I’m still stuck on the next to last module and the finale looks awful fuzzy from where I stand.

Some days, if I let them, the frayed edges of unfinished business aggravate me even though the psalmist said:

You [Lord] hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. ~Psalm 139:5

As much as we bristle at the thought, some days we have to purposely choose unfinished before we come unglued.

Paul pressed on through the undone though he had a very real reason- prison- for not being able to complete all the work he felt called to do. He saw how Christ blessed him with a different mission field despite his chains.

Can you work from your wholeness rather than your dysfunction? ~ Emily P. Freeman

We will never be finished or perfect until Christ comes again. And once we stop wandering in the weeds that obscure our path with “you should” or “you could” we’ll be free to walk unhindered- even just the slightest step forward.

Our idea of finished is fractured.

The real goal is forward, not finished.

Finished isn’t ours to figure.

Regarding this holy work of image bearing, it was Jesus who said, “He who has began a good work in us will complete it.” {Philippians 1:6}

Perhaps it’s not an issue of finishing at all but rather one of patience – God is saying hold on, wait for it, but we just want to check it off and be done.

We are God’s work in progress, layer upon layer and step by step he is creating in us His masterpiece.

It cannot be rushed.

We are never finished until He says so and Revelation reveals He has the final say. Until then, we’re to just keep on growing, lesson to lesson. Strength to strength. Glory to glory.

There’s no end to growing- there’s always more to learn, do and become. There is no finish line or level to complete in Christ’s service. The sun is never finished rising or setting. It carries on day to day- whether it was spectacular or not.

And we know He will make us complete even when we’re forever tripped up by our loose ends.

Whatever unfinished business is binding you, just do the next right thing in love.

Write the letter.

Kiss your people.

Pray the prayer.

Finally frame that simple page from a Beth Moore event…

Just follow the faithful Savior to the finish.

When your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete. ~ James 1:4

Tell me what unfinished business you’re up against? I’d love to pray for you! And if you haven’t gotten your set of scripture cards, won’t you go and put your email in here?

Sometimes I link up with these lovely blogs

What We All Wish For

Chalk up Day 6 with no coffee.

None.

Not even a cup.

It’s been a grievous experiment to say the least as I try and figure out what’s been causing the source of my swallowing and sinus maladies lately.

When antibiotics failed to do the trick Dr. Google pointed me to “silent reflux” – which my doc couldn’t rule out. So she ordered up different meds and my top five food loves cleared from the table- caffeine (as in coffee), tomatoes and tomato based sauces, spicy foods, fried foods and chocolate.

Over half my regular menu is officially off limits for the time being.

But there’s still peanut butter and bananas.

Praise God.

So needless to say, I’ve been doing a lot of praying {over my meals} lately.

And crafting, that is when I’m not outdone from medication side effects and reading all the ingredient labels figuring up what I can eat and what might cause me serious indigestion.

I first saw the idea for this bunting as I read through Hunt and Host’s series in conjunction with The Greatest Gift.

It was supposed to be for Christmas…

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Somehow I managed to squeak it out just before Valentine’s, which was still wholly appropriate I think.

And I’m sure it will still be hanging around come Halloween because that’s just how we roll.

I’ve been walking with some friends at church through our winter bible study on the “Power of a Praying Woman” and I’ve found God using the same tactics he used in last year’s study: Just when you think something in the word doesn’t apply to you, think again.

Never do I pray so much as when I’m ailing with something that I can’t quite get under control. But that’s when he wakes up to gently {and sometimes not so gently} remind me that he’s been in the boat with me all along.

And He sweetly tells me – much as the pastor told us {lovingly} this past weekend – that sometimes we just need to get over ourselves.

For weeks I looked at all the little half cut out hearts laying in the middle of the mess we call a kitchen table and lamented, “If only I had more time…”

The truth is we have enough time we just don’t always spend it in the right places.

And prayer is the best place of all to start.

God will make us a witness in our pleasure and our pain if only we’ll pray and then obey. Through praying I found myself convicted that I’ve let stresses of work and over scheduling myself to the brink of exhaustion tie up my thoughts and silence my lips.

I’ve been hiding- wallowing even- under the blanket of this sickness on occasion I’ll admit. But he’s nudging me back out of the nest- to take a shower and wash my hair and at least pretend like I’m still in the land of the living for starters.

Because it’s one thing to hide His word in our hearts but a whole other thing to get lost just hiding behind them.

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We’re called to live gloriously but it doesn’t stipulate the conditions will always be that way as well.

God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters. ~ Dr. Jowett, Streams in the Desert

So while I ask God to give me my wish of healing and reconciliation with my morning coffee (decaf maybe??) I’m asking first and foremost for him to give me a restored heart.

A humble heart.

A transformed heart.

An obedient heart.

A forgiving heart.

A loving heart.

After all, everything we do or say flows from what state our heart is in. And as long as my heart can say all is well, I’m sure the body will follow suit.

Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days. The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon. There the Lord will display his glory, the splendor of our God. With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands and encourage those who have weak knees. Say to those with fearful hearts,“Be strong, and do not fear for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” ~ Isaiah 35:1-4

Tell me what you’re walking through and wishing for lately? I’d love to pray for you! And if you haven’t gotten your set of scripture cards yet with one of my all time favorite verses about the heart, won’t you go and put your email in here?

Sometimes I link up with these lovely blogs

Fashioning a Life of Wisdom

As I pulled on my awkward snow boots last week- the ones that gave me blisters in Niagara Falls all those years ago but I have yet to replace- I thought about the dark purple and grey fur lined pair I wore everywhere when I was a kid.

Spring, fall, winter, summer- it didn’t matter. They slipped on easily and I thought they looked great with everything in my eight year old wardrobe- which consisted of solid colored stretchy leggings and the occasional pair of jeans.

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I’ve grown somewhat in my fashion sense from those days – my outfits now incorporate several different colored pairs of jeans but I have yet to make peace with the current legging trend unless they’re under a dress.

Boots are still my go-to except now they’re ankle boots which sadly don’t always go with everything in my closet- or maybe that’s just my lack of resources and styling prowess.

Though it’s not for lack of trying- the day after Christmas alone, I tried on at least fifteen pairs of pants but none did the trick. Not one to leave a good clearance sale empty handed, I came home with these lovelies (and still over half of my Christmas cash!) but nary a pair of slacks or jeans in sight.

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Building a wardrobe is like building a life… it takes a while to get all the right pieces into place and there are lots of questionable dressing room moments involved.

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Style like grace, takes practice.

As does walking confidently through the day knowing you’re prepared for whatever it (or the weather man) throws at you.

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Last week alone we went from a snow capped weekend with 3 degree temperatures to a blazing 65 degrees in just four short days.

My two coats and clunky boots from Tuesday gave way to a 3/4 sleeve jacket and flats by Thursday.

This week, who knows.

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But God has given us seasons for growing and resting filled with both showers and sun.

And he works in His own unique style to prepare us for each one in His time.

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It’s trial and error some days maintaining a good attitude and a gentle spirit in the face of change (not to mention finagling the right cuffing of jeans to pair with ankle boots. Please tell me I’m not the only one still struggling here?).

And if I’ve failed to put on the right mind-set or my clothes are ill-fitting it’s a good chance my reaction will sadly follow suit.

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Too many fleshy opinions and influences other than God’s time worn word and I’m headed for a disaster fashioned of a different kind.

But I know that being more purposeful in what goes into my mind (and my closet) helps me dress wisely.

React warmly.

Speak fittingly.

Whatever combination is ‘in’ this season may not come back around for several more but wisdom will always be in style.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. ~ Proverbs 31:25-26

You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. ~ 1 Peter 3:4

How can we build a life on this staple of wisdom?

Pray.

Read the word.

Seek wise counsel.

And just like a good friend who sheds light on our sometimes questionable fashion choices, God will grant us discernment and wisdom if we just ask.

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So what’s your biggest challenge this year? (Fashion or Life- I’m all ears!)

If you’d like more inspiration to help you fashion a life of wisdom in the new year, Click right here to find out more and to get your set of printable scripture cards! It’s my pleasure to create connection, community and sometimes cute stuff just for you and I can’t wait to see you soon in your inbox.

Sometimes I link up with these lovely blogs

Cultivating the Treasures of a New Year

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Against better judgment, I paid the nice lady two dollars for the pitiful thing at an estate sale last fall.

Contained in a tiny red pot I carted this forlorn Christmas cactus home forgetting that I do not possess the greenest of thumbs.

Remember the Mother’s Day orchid? How about the hydrangea bush languishing in the front yard?

One met it’s untimely demise.

The other is barren of blooms.

Right now there’s a poinsettia making a valiant effort along with an aloe plant atop the refrigerator. The only remaining survivors.

But neither are promised tomorrow.

Plants seem only to thrive at my house if they’re fake.

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Buoyed by optimism, or maybe the dirt cheap price, I watered my new charge faithfully sporadically through the fall and waited.

But no flowers came.

Turns out {according to google} these capricious cacti are like the “Goldilocks” of plants.

Quite picky and only flourishing under “just right” conditions.

Not too much light. Not too dry, not too wet.

And no water at all (!) during October as they prepare to bloom in December.

Also did I mention they desire total darkness at night in the month leading up to budding?

So needy. So moody.

So doomed.

Send help. Or a gardener.

But this current attempt to cultivate planted the seed of an idea.

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Just as plants require the right combinations of water and sun, room to grow, fertilizer, periods of darkness and rest and pruning, we’re not that much different as people.

As I picked up leaves the dried leaves dropped by my poinsettia, I decided a little pruning and letting go would be good for myself as well.

And no better time like the new year.

Digging into the attic, coat closet and craft cabinet, the pile of things I had been holding on to grew exponentially.

Because if my Christmas devotions taught me anything, letting go {of expectations, habits and stuff} is the only way to hold on to what really matters.

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The only way to flourish.

“Your familiarity of clutching at life may feel safe but it is no life at all because it leaves little mental, heart, spiritual or physical space to be luxuriant about the one unique life that you have.” ~ Robert V. Taylor

Also from Mr. Taylor, this definition of what it means to flourish:

“Being in a vigorous state and creating conditions for being in your prime,”

further vetted it as the perfect theme for 2017.

 

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Flourish.

  • Growing, thriving luxuriantly under the right conditions of God’s grace and care and knowledge
  • Fresh and fruit bearing- budding or sprouting, breaking out and letting go.
  • Declaring “He Is Lord”- in subtle and grand ways
  • Living gloriously giving God honor and praise

The epiphany of creating the space and time to revel only in what brings joy and purpose in my home was so life giving, I can’t wait to employ it in my mind and soul as well.

When we give God our best and seek right living, His favor causes us to flourish.

When we are nourished by His word and offer our gifts back to him, we flourish.

Even if we think we’re dried out, dead or ready to drop, His love revives us and encourages us to flourish.

“A plant can survive in various environments, but it only thrives under certain conditions.” ~ Bill Hendricks.

It’s God who provides the seed, proclaims the blessing and bestows the favor causing the flourishing.

Our job: Be under the right conditions.

Obedience, submission, and willingness to grow are good seeds of where to start.

2 Peter 1: 5-9 {MSG} So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.

2 Peter 1: 10-11 {MSG} So, friends, confirm God’s invitation to you, his choice of you. Don’t put it off; do it now. Do this, and you’ll have your life on a firm footing, the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I’m ready to flourish under God’s design for glorious living in 2017.

I’ll keep you posted on the plant.

Maybe I’ll start with a new pot.

Have you one word found you for the year? I hope you’ll share!

If you’d like more inspiration to help you cultivate your own treasure in the new year, Click right here to find out more and to get your set of printable scripture cards! It’s my pleasure to create connection, community and sometimes cute stuff just for you and I can’t wait to see you soon in your inbox.

Linking up with these lovely blogs below!

#Graceandtruth

#Womenhelpingwomen

#SmallWonderLinkup

Dance With Jesus

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The Luke 2:52 Project

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