Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars,She has prepared her food, she has mixed her wine, She has set her table, ..., "Come eat of my food. And drink of my wine I have mixed. For sake your folly and live, And proceed in the way of understanding." Proverbs 9:1-6
I am getting mommy excited about next Tuesday. My youngest, precious one, Joy, will come home from her first semester at college. She has sustained the 3 months alone without one visit and we have been constantly chatting and planning and sharing hearts so much that it feels like the last few days before you give birth--just biding your time until the momentous occasion comes. As a result, I have been looking at some old pictures and drawing up old memories and here is one of them--our fall apple picking and putting away for the winter. We missed it this year with Joy gone and us traveling too much.
But I had so much fun remembering, I thought I would share our memory with you! Getting into the mood for cooking a feast for all of my children and special others who will be with us!
Below a story of life from 4 years ago--hard to believe the time flew!
Yesterday we had a great sermon--one of four--which addressed the reality of heaven. I loved hearing that in heaven we will eat and drink and feast and have gardens and rivers and beauty and celebration and singing--only it will be in a perfect and wonderful place--called paradise--even more wonderful than anything we can see or imagine here.
I like knowing these things. It makes me think that when I prepare these thousands of meals that I am providing a little heaven on earth--an imperfect picture here of what real celebration and living will be there! I think that one of my delights over the years, which has grown as I have become better at it, is providing life-giving meals and memories for my family. Wisdom (I love it that wisdom is personified as a woman!) sets her table and provides wonderful food and in the midst of serving, calls those she serves to wisdom, understanding, love and righteousness. I am convinced that we have done more discipleship over meals than any other way!
As the old saying goes, "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach", but I think there is some truth to it, only applying to all people! Even Wisdom knew as much. Though there are so many things that reach and touch our hearts, I do think that the dining table can become the place of so much spirituality. At least it has for our family. Clay and I talk to our sons Joel and Nathan several times a week. Though both are thriving where they are, both have mentioned often missing our family. And when I asked them what they missed the most, it is as Joel and Nate said, "It's the great food and the meal time discussions that I miss the most--just being together like that as a family."
I would have to agree that these moments (and there are thousands of them) have held celebrations, devotions, discussions, funny stories, jokes, laughter, songs, correction (How many times have I told you--use a fork--not your fingers!) and sharing our hearts together.
God designed us to eat, but the time spent eating in warm fellowship, giving words of love and affirmation, challenging ideas with a meaningful quote to discuss or bringing and insightful article to the table to read together makes the moments that we spend in delightful fellowship feasting, a discipleship moment!
Just thought I would include a recipe from a most recent Sunday breakfast meal. Though we try to have devotions as a family, as our children became older and had their own cars, jobs and activities, we could barely get everyone together at once, but we could almost always get everyone together on Sunday morning. So many years ago, even when they were young, I got up early to make a great Sunday morning breakfast. Some of our favorites include home made whole wheat cinnamon rolls--(and yes, someday I will provide the recipe--but it is not perfected yet and I am afraid of misleading all of you! I am so used to throwing it all together--my own recipe--that I don't exactly know how to put it down as it is different every time!)
Now onto more--scrambled cheese eggs--I do it a certain Clarkson way with bacon bits, cheese and sour cream; Polish eggs--the same only with hash browns mixed into the eggs-omelette's with green peppers, onions, ham, bacon, avocado as the favorite items and of course cheese; muffins--our favorite being oatmeal and also blueberry or pumpkin; also, apple coffee cake; cottage cheese pancakes with strawberry or blueberry topping.
But one of the family favorites, which I do when I run out of time or get up late, is Whole Wheat Pancakes. I use this recipe below. The great thing about this recipe is that you can change it by adding just a few items. The ones pictured below are my regular ones--pancakes with grated apple, pecans and cinnamon.
Sometimes I add chocolate chips and have made a smiley face with them; or blueberries, one to two squished bananas with chopped nuts; hot peach sauce on top, hot apples on top and whip cream on all of it if desired. The girls in our family prefer real maple syrup and the boys prefer Aunt Jemima or log cabin light.
Of course we always light candles and put on some kind of music.
Somehow our table looks sparse now that we only have 4!
Whole Wheat Pancakes 2 eggs 2 cups whole wheat (or white) flour 1 1/2 cups milk or yoghurt 2 -4 tablespoons honey, sugar or maple syrup-depending on your taste 6 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon vanilla Beat eggs with beater until fluffy. Add remaining ingredients until smooth. You can add up to 1/4 cup of milk if you prefer thinner cakes, but we like them fluffy and thick. They do spread out on your griddle--though sometimes I give them a little help when I put them on the griddle by spreading them out a little with my spatula. Let them cook until there are lots of bubbles showing on the surface of the cakes, and they are beginning to dry out on the edges. This makes enough to feed all 6 of us. You can halve the recipe and feed 4 if they are not big eaters!
*as an aside, I always grate apples to put in the pancakes. I also add pecans to some of them. You can also fold in blueberries. Yumm--a great way to add whatever you happen to like! (Once a woman told me that she followed this recipe and her pancakes turned out really heavy. I grind my own flour and don't add more flour if the batter looks wrong--I add a little more milk. They are pretty light for us--hope it works for you!)
Next, I like to decorate for each season. I keep lidded plastic boxes with the season's decor and it just takes me a small amount of time to decorate my whole house. (autumn, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's, Easter, Spring and summer) I like, also, these tall glass cannisters that hold whatever you want in the bottom and candles on the top part as pictured below. You can get them in all sorts of sizes--expensive designer ones or Walmart or Target. The reason I like them is that you can just put different things in the bottom of them, place a candle on top and it is an instant centerpiece on a table or coffee table. In autumn, leaves are on the bottom. At Christmas, I put tiny red and green Christmas tree balls in one and pine cones in another I have; small hearts at valentines with a red strand of beads during January and early February, etc.
Providing can also be designing traditions just for your family that take on a life of its own. Every year for a few years, we took a trip to the local apple farm and picked our own apples, ate a picnic out in the fields. Then, some weekend, we would all peel apples, slice and cut them and freeze them for applesauce and or warm apples to have with our soups in the winter. This year, our apple farm had a freeze and so we bought 3 boxes of organic apple to use for our recipes. We always watch the Anne of Green Gables series while doing it and I think we have every line memorized. This year, since our family is ridding itself of lots of our plastic, we decided to put our recipes in jars. I must say we missed the boys as they always did a lot of work with us on these!
The final outcome so far: 17 jars of homemade applesauce and 12 jars of apple butter (minus the jars eaten!)
Now, tonight we will do the last box--apple pie filling!
We so enjoyed praying for all of you today. It was such a good time of fellowship with my girls--I should do this more. Have a great day tomorrow and know we are in His loving and wonderful hands.
Grace, peace and an abundance of His love to all of you today!