photo source: dayspring.com
If you haven't read this book by Shauna Niequist, then you definitely should. I LOVE every single one of her books. They are so uplifting, happy, and they just give you that all is right in the world feeling. It will make you smile and reminisce, and if you're like me, it will lead you to set your dining room table in hopes that people will gather there and share life together.
You see, I got so many cute wedding gifts for our kitchen table, but I had yet to set the table and use any of it. We hadn't really had anyone over for a nice, sit down dinner....usually just a cook out, or get together where we ordered pizza....nothing fancy. I got the itch after reading this book to just set the table and see what it all looked like together and leave it there until it got used. When my parents came in town, we used it all and had a great sit down dinner together at the kitchen table.
Shauna talks about the importance of hospitality and gathering around the table in her book. She also talks about how it's really not important what dishes you use, what food you serve, what decorations you create, or how perfect the entire set-up is....but what matters most is that you gather and invite people into your home to create memories and dwell. I like that. I like being reminded about what's important. I find that I get super stressed out when I plan a party, or invite people over because I want everything to be so perfect, when in the end, that's not really what matters. Another awesome thing about the book is that she includes recipes at the end of every chapter. She doesn't just talk about food and having parties...she also talks about many challenging/life altering situations and personal stories. It's just an all around good book and you should read it.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
"When the table is full, heavy with platters, wine glasses scattered, napkins twisted and crumpled, forks askew, dessert plates scattered with crumbs and icing, candles burning down low- it's in those moments that I feel a deep sense of God's presence and happiness. I feel honored to create a place around my table, a place for laughing and crying, for being seen and heard, for telling stories and creating memories." (I can totally relate to this. Some of my favorite times are with my family and friends around the table, during the holidays, just talking about our lives after our bellies are full and satisfied.)
"....But what I remember most about that night are those moments when it was absolutely silent except for one voice when Ben or Izzy or Becky looked right at Nate and said, "This is something I love about you," or, "This is why I love being in a band with you," or, "This is what you've taught me." The heart of hospitality is creating space for these moments, protecting that fragile bubble of vulnerability and truth and love. It's all too rare that we tell the people we love exactly why we love them - what they bring to our lives, why our lives are richer because they're in it. We do it best, I think, with our nuclear family - most of us tell our children and spouses how much we love them easily and often. But that night was an unusual and very beautiful thing. We risked the awkwardness of saying tender, meaningful things out loud in front of everyone, in front of our friends, trusting that those words would travel down to a very deep part of someone we cared about. I watched Nathan's face, and I watched it move from slightly nervous and uncomfortable to overwhelmed in the best possible way. (Love it!)
Here's a glimpse of my kitchen table set-up. It's not perfect, or anything fancy, but I really like it. I like all the different patterns of black and white, with the yellow and blue mixed in. I just need to find some pretty flowers for my white pitcher.
My next big project. Painting the kitchen table.