Family, Food, Faith

I’ve been focusing on involving the kids in my “have to’s” like harvesting our peanuts. It turns everything into a big event, and slows things down and adds an extra element of policing the throwing of freshly harvested legumes at one’s brothers… But, I figure, this is my life too, and there’s no reason to put off living it because I have children running about. It just means things move slowly. And there are lots of repeats and do-overs. More than I’d like. But we’re building a solid (hopefully!) foundation of work ethic and character. So, the best things take time. Like a good roast.

My husband is a meat and potatoes guy. In fact, most times, he could take or leave the potatoes part so long as there’s a medium-rare sirloin involved.

One of the perks, I guess one of the only perks, to his long hours is the freedom to make vegetarian dishes for dinner.

Friday night, I decided on roasted autumn veggies on a bed of jasmine rice.

A little background: this week…has been so inconsistent and stressful. So I took a page out of Sally Clarkson’s book and decided to saturate with beauty and goodness. That meant instead of rambunctious children being destructive in the other room while I frantically threw together dinner, all hands were on deck. They didn’t have to help cut or peel necessarily, but they did have to be in the room, and either find a peaceable activity, or contribute to table setting.

Unbelievably idyllic photo capturing the good, true, and beautiful preparation

My oldest helped peel and chop carrots, Brussels, sweet potatoes, onions, and he added olive oil, Himalayan pink salt, pepper.

Then we broiled it on high for 25 minutes.

My fancy china dishes also come with a story!

I had been convicted about practicing hospitality and the Lord just kept pressing on my heart that I needed to open my home on Friday afternoons for tea, and building friendships.

Well… I made a lot of excuses. Lord, my house is a half-complete construction zone! I have so many kids, and God, they’re LOUD! I’m already feeling overwhelmed by commitments and responsibilities and not compromising my ideals, how am I going to serve people from this chaos!?

And God is so good and gentle and kind. He assured me that where He guides, he provides. And that I needed to be still. So I said, okay, God, but if this is what you want, will you provide me with a pretty tea service? Now that might seem frivolous, but I do not have nice things. All of our furniture, every single piece (except the boy’s bed frame) is second, third, or fourth hand. Our vehicles are all used and over 24 years old, with plenty of dings and scratches. Our computer is 14 years old. When you’re on a budget, you learn to thrift. And most times, people’s idea of gifted items come pre-damaged or very nearly damaged, because, let’s be honest, that’s why they’re getting rid of it in the first place. So I wanted a tea service, something beautiful to add atmosphere and elegance to our tea time hospitality.

So I was thrifting one day, and on a whim, I said, Lord, if you show me a full tea service with at least 6 settings, I will feel better about committing to opening my home. Well, I found one with 8 settings, tea cups, saucers, bowls, dinner plates, and salad plates, and a couple serving dishes/platter. The pattern was quaint and floral with gilded edges. I had held out hope for a blue willow set (maybe some day!) But I looked at this one and thought, well this is nice, but is it in my budget? I can only spend about $50 and this looks like more than I could afford. I couldn’t find a tag anywhere! So I asked the lady at the counter, and she asked another lady, and we found the sticker- $36. Sold! And I found a (non-matching, but coordinating) tea pot.

So, we have good china. And I pull it out when my soul needs an infusion of blessings. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not drawing my strength from dishes. But when I intentionally surround myself with all the good and beautiful gifts the Lord has provided, I can’t help but be in awe of His provision for me. And I find myself in David’s shoes, thinking, “Who am I Lord God, and what is my house that you have brought me this far?” (2 Samuel 7:18)

And my kids get it. My oldest son said after dinner, “Mama, I’m so glad that God has blessed us, it’s better than I could ask for.”

It is, my son. It truly is.

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