The Gathering Place

Today for some reason I am thinking of the beauty and blessing of the Dinner Table.  Maybe it’s because several days lately I ate a cold salad by myself in my vehicle in between running errands and arriving at work.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind eating alone.  In fact, being alone, and even eating alone, is something I enjoy.  But the older I get, the more I value coming together with family, community, friends, at the table.

The Table is a gathering place.  A place to connect, feel accepted, be nourished.

The nourishing of a good table goes beyond delicious food, and extends to the nourishments of soul and spirit along with food.  And it is priceless.

So what can we do to create a good Gathering Place…..a place where family and friends feel loved, accepted, nourished?  There seem to be a variety of factors that contribute to a truly nourishing gathering around the dinner table, a place where hearts are blessed, bodies refreshed, and spirits rested.  A few things I’ve observed as I’ve been blessed to be part of hundreds of excellent, joyous meal times all around the US, Canada, and Mexico:

  • The atmosphere is warm.  There is acceptance + love.  It is a place to relax, to be yourself, to feel “at home”.

  • The food can be simple or lavish, served on paper or china, but it is thoughtful, and served with love.

  • Enriching words, healing laughter, and (sometimes heated:) discussion flows.  It’s not always all peace and calm, at least not at my family’s table. But it is sharing.  It is community.

And now I would love to hear from you!  What special touches do you enjoy adding to the Table?  In your mind, what makes a mealtime special and refreshing?

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Nurturing Your Brothers’ Manhood

This post is especially for you sisters out there!  Why is Nurturing Our Brothers’ Manhood important?  Our brothers need us to stand up and stop treating them as less than the men that they are becoming.  They NEED us to nurture their manhood.

Let me tell you gals, if we aren’t nurturing our brothers’ manhood, we ARE squelching it.  There is no neutral ground.  We either build up their manhood or we tear it down.  We may look back someday and wish our brothers were real men, that they had backbone, were decisive, etc.  Guess what?  Maybe if they are weak, spineless men, it is in part because they are so used to big sisters who always tell them what to do, correcting their grammar and posture and driving and body noises and messy habits.

I will be honest here- I fail sometimes, but I am learning, and I am trying, oh I am TRYING, to nurture my brothers’ manhood.  There is so much at stake and I don’t want to mess it up.

Just today, one of my sweet brothers was my chauffeur.  At one point, he had just stopped the vehicle at a stop sign, and was turning onto the main highway and accelerating.  Only, he wasn’t just accelerating.  He was MASHING THE GAS PEDAL!!!  A lecture was on the tip of my tongue.  “Um, brother dear, did you realize it is extremely hard on the engine to accelerate that fast?  You should speed up slowly instead of mashing it!”.  Thankfully, I bit my tongue and refrained from the lecture.  He doesn’t need me to tell him how to drive. He needs me to NOT tell him how to drive.  If I would have told him what he was doing wrong, I would have been crushing his manhood and stepping into the position of teacher and leader.  

What I am not saying is that we can never give our brothers advice or tell them the truth (in love) about something they are doing wrong.  There will be times when we, as their sister and friend, give them some helpful criticism or advice.  My brothers and I do that for one another often.  The point isn’t that every word we say to them is only about how awesome they are, because that isn’t being a true friend.  They need to hear the hard things from us, too, but it needs to be done in love, and outnumbered by words of kindness and encouragement.  When we have that sweet relationship already, our words of correction can be said kindly, and in a way that is not demeaning.

My challenge to you is this: would your brothers be able to wholeheartedly say that you are their biggest fan, a huge encouragement in their life, and a beloved chum?

Another thing, girls: be a lady, and your brothers are more likely to behave like gentlemen.  Speak softly, ask their opinion, let them drive the car, talk well of them.  Trust me, they will begin to live up to your expectations and treatment of them.  The opposite is true- if you nag + criticize, they may either become spineless puppets, or they will decide that they don’t need you and stop listening to you altogether.  If you expect them to be selfish, messy cavemen, they just might be.  Pray, speak a little less at times (if you’re like me:), and decide that you will draw out the best in them and be their biggest cheerleader.

I love you girls, and I’m right with you, biting my tongue, trying to choose love, and desperately wanting to be a good sister!  Know that I’m cheering you on!!!  I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions.

xoxo,

Allison

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