Come to the Family Table

Come to the Family Table

When we were planning for our marriage, we talked about the importance of family meal times. We have made it a priority to sit down at the table for our meals since our newlywed days (with the exception of pizza night or snack dinner with a movie!)

Now that our children are 6, 4 and 2, we’re actually able to have conversation at the dinner table which is so fun.

We are in the habit of gathering around the table during meal times but we tend to rush through meals. I’ll dish up everybody a plate and call everyone to the table. We sit down, eat, talk a bit and then clear the table. We don’t savor our meal or linger around the table.

Ted and Amy Cunningham’s new book, Come to the Family Table is about ‘slowing down to enjoy food, each other and Jesus.’

This book has both convicted me in the importance of slowing our meal times and has encouraged me in practical ways to do just that.

One chapter is titled ‘A Place for Memories’ and it reminded me that meals are not just about feeding people. Meals are to enjoy and to create ties with the loved ones. I want our family to create memories around our table that each of our children can take with them when they leave our home.

It seems like so much of my day is spend preparing meals and with our tendency to rush through meals, it sometimes leaves me frustrated that I will spend an hour or two preparing a meal only to have it eaten within 10 minutes and then move on to cleaning up the mess. I think that slowing down to savor our food and our time spent together around the table will help me value the time I spend preparing meals even more.

The second part of Come to the Family Table is about sharing meals with others and the importance of hospitality, especially for Christians. This is one area that we’re intentionally working on as a family. It’s still a bit of a step out of our comfort zone to invite others to share meals with our family. We’re finding as we do it more, it becomes easier and we always enjoy time spent gathered around our table with others.

Not only is this book full of inspiring information, it’s also fun. Each chapter includes a recipe that is meaningful to the authors as well as a game you can play around the table and a small devotional. We’ve tried out a couple of the game ideas during our family meals over the past couple of weeks and they have been fun for us all!

This book has practical applications for people in every season of life. Singles, young married couples, couples with children, grandparents all can glean inspiration, wisdom and ideas to strengthen ties with those who gather around their table from Come to the Family Table.

*Disclaimer – I received a copy of this book from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review. This post also contains affiliate links which help support the maintenance of this website.

Having a Martha Home the Mary Way Book Review

Sharable-MarthaHomeMaryWay-Less

I am a naturally neat and organized person who actually enjoys cleaning. But, this doesn’t mean my home is always neat and clean. I do want it to be tidy and clean always but that isn’t the case.

In fact, over the years since becoming a mother, I’ve learned to relax my standards of neatness and embrace the mess and clutter that comes with having young children. And, I’ve struggled with finding a cleaning routine that works well with our daily rhythms and keeps our bathrooms from getting downright nasty (4 and 5 year old boys can make a bathroom gross very quickly!)

In the introduction of Having a Martha Home the Mary Way, Sarah Mae writes ‘I’ve come to the conclusion that it is not a clean house that defines good homemaking but rather a warm, inviting place that is filled with love.’ Those words need to be taken to heart by everyone who considers themselves a homemaker, household manager or main caretaker of the home, whether you are a woman or a man.

In the book, Sarah Mae shares her struggles in homemaking and offers encouragement to others about valuing their homes as places of love and warmth before measuring their cleanliness. And, this encouragement makes this book an excellent read for mothers, especially mothers of new babies and young children.

The book is broken down into 31 days with each day having an short encouraging piece/devotional, followed by a Mary Challenge which has scripture and questions to help the reader reflect on their life and it ends with a Martha Challenge which is the actual homemaking project. Spreading out the projects (like cleaning out your fridge, purging your closet and organizing the kitchen) over 31 days makes getting your entire home in order seem quite manageable!

I enjoyed following along with the projects cleaning and ridding my home of even more clutter. It was fun for me because I love this type of thing but I really believe even ‘messy’ types would find encouragement and motivation from this book. And, she reminds us to ‘enjoy the seasons God allows you to move through and pray for a contented spirit.’ (Even those seasons of life that include bathrooms that are never clean!)

Having a Martha Home the Mary Way is a simple, fun book that is full of encouragement and practical advice for anyone wanting to clear out some clutter and clean their home better.

*Disclaimer – I received a copy of this book from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review.

Sharable-MarthaHomeMaryWay-Eternity

 

 

 

A Day in My Life

For the past 4 years now, I have recorded a day in my life on a January day and shared about our everyday. This year, I recorded our day but never sat down and posted about the day. I finally have taken the time to write about that day.

Here’s a glimpse into my life as a stay at home, homeschooling mama of 3 on Thursday, January 28, 2016:

Quiet Time7:30 – I’m awake and having a few minutes of quiet to myself. It doesn’t last too long because Cecilia wakes around 7:45 (she almost always gets up 15 minutes after me, whether I get up at 6:30 or 8:00!) I read in my Bible, read a few pages in The MessageHow to Listen to God and For the Children’s Sake.

For the Children's Sake

8:30 – Finishing up a chapter in For the Children’s Sake while Cecilia plays quietly in her room and the boys are still sleeping.

Breakfast

9:30 – By now, everybody is up and moving. I’ve prepped breakfast and have served everyone a big bowl of blueberry oatmeal. We finish up oatmeal, tidy up the kitchen and get dressed for the day.

Jackets

10:30 – We’re getting our jackets on to head to town to run a few errands. Thursdays are John David’s late work nights (he typically arrives home around 8:30-9:00) so some Thursday’s we break out of our normal school after breakfast routine and do a fun morning activity.

Salvation Army

11:30 – We drop off a few items at Salvation Army and browse the store for a few minutes. No treasures were found on this trip. Then we head to the library, one of our favorite places!Heading Home

12:30 – Heading home from town, prepping and eating lunch.

Lunch and Reading

1:30 – We’re all finished with lunch so we’re reading a few stories before rest time from Illustrated Stories from Aesop that we checked out from the library!

Cecilia's Nap

2:30 – It took awhile but Cecilia is finally asleep, the boys are resting and I enjoy a few moments of quiet and prep for our learning time.

School

3:30 – We’re in the middle of our lessons for the day. Since my boys are so young, I often sit on the couch and read books to them while they quietly play and then we’ll move into the kitchen for handwriting and math. (This is a page out of Illustrated Elementary Science Dictionary about seeds.)

Tidying the Kitchen

4:30 – Tidying in the kitchen. So much of my days are spent right here cleaning, prepping and cooking food. I’m so thankful that we have an abundance of food and that I am able to nourish my children from my time spent here.

Playing Football

5:30 – Outside for a little while playing football with Paxton. Quality time is one of his love languages and he loves football so kicking and throwing the football around with him makes him feel so loved. We also spent a few minutes weeding some of our garden beds in preparation for spring!

Supper

6:30 – I’m heating up dinner. Tonight we’re having leftover chicken soup – one of my very favorite winter foods.

Lego Game

7:30 – We’re in the boys room, playing the Lego game. It’s super simple and so much fun. We grab our Lego bin and a dice and then roll the dice to see how many pieces we can choose to add to our collaborative creation. It’s so much fun to create together.

8:30 – (No picture because I was exhausted and forgot!) Cecilia is in bed asleep, John David has just arrived home and I’m getting the boys to bed.

9:30 – All of my little ones are sleeping, my husband is home and I’m ending my day with a book. The perfect ending to a winter day.

I’m so thankful for these sweet children of mine and that I am able to stay home and educate them. There really is nothing glamorous about my life but I really am living my dream as a wife and mama!

A Day in My Life Posts from previous years:

January 2015

January 2014

January 2013

January 2012

*This post contains affiliate links to books!

Breaking Free of the Guilt of Giving Things Away

Breaking Free

I’m following the steps outlined in Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I’m finding that my thinking about possessions is changing as I go.

While letting things go is pretty easy for me, I am conscious of the value of the items I no longer need or want.

Finding value in my clutter is my biggest challenge.

Over the past few years as we’ve deliberately simplified, we’ve sold everything from outgrown baby clothes and books to electronics and furniture. We’ve gotten clutter out of our home and brought in some extra cash in the process. My frugal side loves bringing in money from selling our unwanted items!

I try to sell items that have a value greater than $5 and have successfully sold quite a few things via Facebook pages and Craigslist in the past couple of years.

However, it seems like we always have a ‘for sale’ pile somewhere in our home. And, our current ‘for sale’ pile has some items that have been in it for at least 6 months.

I donate items quite regularly but sometimes it’s hard to donate things that could potentially be sold and sometimes I feel guilty for just giving ‘valuable’ items to thrift stores.

Marie Kondo writes, ‘To get rid of what you no longer need is neither wasteful or shameful.’ How freeing this statement is for me. 

One of my biggest takeaways from ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ has been breaking free of my guilt of giving away ‘valuable’ things.

And, as an avid thrifter, I am thankful that people donate nice, ‘valuable’ things (like my boys’ Georgia jerseys) so we can benefit from purchasing them and support a charity in the process.

Within in the past year, I’ve thrifted a smocked dress and a pair of Matilda Jane pants for Cecilia, a set of Duplos for my kids, a Marmot pullover for me and a Camelbak bottle, paying no more than $2 for any of those items.

My mindset has shifted from feeling guilty to being excited that someone is going to find our former possessions in a thrift store, find value in them and get a thrill from thrifting.

This change in thinking is getting things out of my house much faster and it’s so much easier than taking pictures, posting items for sell, storing them until they sell and arranging to meet up with a buyer once someone is interested.

Instead, I load items into bags and boxes, place them in my car and drop them off at The Salvation Army at my convenience.

During this season of life with 3 small children, it’s so much easier to donate. Yes, the extra money is nice when we do sell things but since we’re debt free (except our home) and living comfortably within our budget, it’s not necessary for us to sell everything that has some value.

Do you ever feel guilty about donating ‘valuable’ things? 

*In full honesty, I probably will still *try* to sell items that have a value of $10 plus but if they don’t sell within a week or two, I’ll just give to a friend or donate!

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