Meals. They occupy a big part of our lives. Three times a day they show up – morning, midday and again at evening time. We have to plan for them. Shop for them. Prepare them. (Or pick up the phone and order them.) Eat them. Clean up after them. Often our kitchen can feel like a 24-hour diner, and we’re the short-order cook, waitress and bus boy rolled into one.
Given how much time they take up day after day, we thought it might be useful to have a conversation about meals. What is the significance of mealtime? How can I make delicious food for my family (or myself!) with less effort? What are tips for a peaceful, memorable mealtime?
We’d also like to invite you to our homes for dinner. Not literally of course. Although we’d love to have you visit, our houses are not quite big enough to accomodate everyone. But we will give you a peek into dinnertime at the Whitacre, Chesemore, Bradshaw and Mahaney households as this discussion unfolds. We hope you will accept our invitation.
To answer the question: “What is the significance of mealtime?” I’ve solicited the help of Edith Schaeffer from her book The Hidden Art of Homemaking. She writes:
There is no occasion when meals should become totally unimportant. Meals can be very small indeed, very inexpensive, short times taken in the midst of a big push of work, but they should be always more than just food. Relaxation, communication and a measure of beauty and pleasure should be part of even the shortest meal breaks. Of course you celebrate special occasions—successes of various members of the family, birthdays, good news, answered prayer, happy moments—with special attention to meal preparation and serving. But we should be just as careful to make the meal interesting and appealing when the day is grey, and the news is disappointing…. Food cannot take care of spiritual, psychological and emotional problems, but the feeling of being loved and cared for, the actual comfort of the beauty and flavor of food, the increase of blood sugar and physical well-being, help one to go on during the next hours better equipped to meet the problems.
Food can’t solve our problems, but it is a gift from God to help us meet our problems. Whether small or big, for a large family or just for you, meals should always be more than just food.
This story is pretty cute:
After the christening of his baby brother in church, Jason sobbed all the way home in the back seat of the car. His father asked him three times what was wrong. Finally, the boy replied, “That preacher said he wanted us brought up in a Christian home, and I wanted to stay with you guys.”
See ya soon!
for Carolyn, Kristin, and Janelle
Thanks to all of you who participated in this week’s discussion. May God give us all grace to leave a godly legacy to the next generation!
This week’s assignment is to read Chapter Two and check back next Friday when we’ll share some thoughts on this chapter.
Friday Funnies will be online shortly.
Have you been encouraged to “Preach the gospel to yourself everyday”? Have you wondered how to do it?
Inspired by my husband’s example, I have desired to grow in this discipline. So for the month of January I decided to suspend my current study of the book of Genesis and to solely study the gospel during my morning devotions. CJ gave me a booklet entitled A Gospel Primer for Christians to aid me in this endeavor. I am finding it so helpful that I simply had to tell you about it!
The first part of the booklet is comprised of “Reasons to Rehearse the Gospel Daily.” The second and third parts of the booklet contain “A Gospel Narrative” written in both a prose and poetic format that facilitates memorization and recitation of the gospel. Though it is a mere seventy-eight pages, this little resource is chock-full of the truths of the gospel and the Scriptures that affirm these truths. It reminds us of the valuable blessings which the gospel can render in our lives if we but preach it to ourselves each day.
The author, Milton Vincent, describes how this discipline has affected his life:
Over the course of time, preaching the gospel to myself every day has made more of a difference in my life than any other discipline I have ever practiced. I find myself sinning less, but just as importantly, I find myself recovering my footing more quickly after sinning, due to the immediate comfort found in the gospel. I have also found that when I am absorbed in the gospel, everything else I am supposed to be toward God and others seems to flow out of me more naturally and passionately. Doing right is not always easy, but it is never more easy than when one is breathing deeply the atmosphere of the gospel.
Need I say more about the powerful impact of this daily habit?
If you would like to obtain this little booklet to help you get started or become better at preaching the gospel to yourself every day, you can download it here, or order it in booklet form by contacting:
Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church,
1363 Linden Street, Riverside, California 92507
Naming a child is a subjective process. A lot of factors come into play: the sound and meaning of a name, the name of the bully in second grade, the middle name of great-aunt-so-and-so, name likes and dislikes held since childhood, places we’ve lived, favorite colors or flowers or foods….
It’s a great responsibility, giving a human life a name—one that will stick with her, for better or for worse, for her entire life.
That’s why Steve and I took the process of naming our little girl—due at the end of March—very seriously. We picked it up in line at a game booth at our church’s annual Harvest Carnival in October. Yep. I was there with Jack (a.k.a. Thomas the Train) when I noticed the nametag of the little girl in front of me. I knew her and her family and had always loved her name—or more precisely, the shortened version of her name, which she goes by.
Steve liked it too, and after “test-driving” it for a couple of weeks, we’ve settled on…are you ready….
Actually, the full name is Victoria Carolyn but we’ll call her Tori.
“Victoria” we chose mainly because we liked the nickname. However, it also shares the same meaning as my name which is “Victory”—so that’s kind of fun.
“Carolyn” is after Mom of course. If I had ten girls (which I wont!) I would probably give all of them her name somehow or another. If you don’t understand why, read here.
So, there you have it. Tori Whitacre is due to arrive sometime in late March. We’ll keep you posted as the day draws near.
The other day, a woman in our church told me about a conversation she initiated with the ladies in her small group. She had planned to discuss ways to grow in the New Year. However, as she prepared for the discussion, she found herself discouraged—so aware of the many ways she needed to grow and so unaware that “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
So, she began her meeting with a different question: “What is one way you have grown in godliness in this past year?” What followed was a rich time of fellowship and encouragement as the women became aware of God’s grace actively working in their lives.
I was so inspired by this idea that when I met with the girls in my small group this past Sunday, we too spent time recounting evidences of God’s grace before we shared our New Year’s resolutions.
This was not to take personal credit or glory in our own achievements, for all growth in godliness is by God’s grace. Rather, it was a way to praise God for His ongoing work in our lives. The effect on my own soul was to bolster my faith. As I consider how God has been faithful to sanctify me in this past year, it gives me confident hope that he will continue to work throughout this coming year.
I can make my New Year’s resolution in faith, remembering that the Holy Spirit is powerfully at work within me (Col. 1:29). So what is one way God’s grace has been at work in your life this past year?
In chapter one, the spotlight is on Elizabeth Prentiss’ parents. The fruit of her life is in large part attributable to the grace of God she received through them at an early age. As Sharon James observes, “Elizabeth grew up in an atmosphere of deep and genuine piety” (p. 5).
Elizabeth always remembered her father—to whom she was very attached—for his “transparent godliness” (p. 11) and cherished fond memories of “playing games…telling stories, listening to jokes, and joining in whatever fun was going on” (p. 2).
About her mother, Elizabeth recalled, “If anything troubled our annoyed my mother she went straight into the ‘spare room,’ no matter how cold the weather, and we children know it was to pray. I shall never forget its influence over me” (p. 11).
What a remarkable legacy Edward and Louisa Payson left to their daughter—one we all benefit from even to this day.
How about you—what godly legacy have you received from your parents? Or—what kind of legacy do you hope to leave to your children?
We’d love to hear your answers to either or both of these questions. So today, we want to try something new (for the girltalk blog anyway) and open up the comments feature for discussion.
Simply click on the “comments” option at the bottom of this post and type in your answer(s). Please note that we will be moderating this “discussion” and will edit or delete comments that are unhelpful, unrelated to this topic, or too long.
We hope to hear from as many of you as possible, so we can all be inspired to gratefulness for godly parents and faithfulness in parenting our own children.
My friend from Philly, Kimm, sent me another funny one. Hope it gives you a laugh too!
for Nicole, Kristin, and Janelle
Men Are Just Happier People
What do you expect?
Your last name stays put.
The garage is all yours.
Wedding plans take care of themselves.
Chocolate is just another snack.
You can be President.
You can never be pregnant.
Car mechanics tell you the truth.
You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky.
You don’t have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.
Wrinkles add character.
Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental $100.
New shoes don’t cut, blister, or mangle your feet.
One mood all the time.
Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
You know stuff about tanks.
A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.
You can open all your own jars.
You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.
If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.
Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.
Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.
You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.
Everything on your face stays its original color.
The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.
You can play with toys all your life.
One wallet and one pair of shoes—one color for all seasons.
You can “do” your nails with a pocket knife.
You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24 in 25 minutes.
No wonder men are happier.
When I was a little girl, my family spent several weeks in England while my Dad was doing ministry there. By the time I came back, I had picked up a British accent and went around saying “It doesn’t matta” in my crispest five-year-old diction.
As Cotton Mather, the well-known American Puritan once wrote: “examples do strangely charm us into imitation.” That’s why we tend to talk, dress, and behave a lot like the people we live and mingle with—even after only two weeks. Or, as Proverbs 13:20 observes: “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
By reading biographies, we can “walk” with wise men and women from history and become wise ourselves through their trials, obstacles, doubts, victories, and strengths. And because they have already finished their journey, we can discover what it means to live and end well.
That’s one of the reasons we chose this book on the life of Elizabeth Prentiss. We want to walk with this wise woman for the next several weeks and learn to imitate her life and character as she honored Christ. While we can all identify with her sins, weaknesses, and temptations—which is part of what endears her to us—our hope is that we will also glean from her faith in trials, display of godly womanhood, and most of all, her sincere love for Christ.
May her example charm us into imitation.
Book Club Assignment: Begin reading chapter one and check back Monday for more book club conversation.
Is it possible to make a resolution this year and truly keep it?
I hope by now you are convinced that “yes, it is possible!”
But as we carry out our resolution, we must not forget:
“There is nothing in us or done by us, at any stage of our earthly development, because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ’s sake, or we cannot be accepted at all. This is not true of only when we believe. It is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be true as long as we live…. It is always on His ‘blood and righteousness’ alone that we can rest.” B.B. Warfield
Let’s make this our prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me today to _________________ (fill in the blank with your resolution) – not for my sake, not for merits’ sake, but for your name’s sake! And if I should fail, help me to look to the precious blood and righteousness of your Son alone for my forgiveness and acceptance before you.