“Creating an environment of beauty, comfort, and acceptance cultivates hearts that are open to your messages.” Sally Clarkson
It is so important that we cultivate the environment of our home and our table. We need to study and understand each of our children and our guests and prepare a place that is beautiful and comfortable for them; in doing so we help cultivate their hearts to be ready to hear the message that we have to speak in their lives. I really love how Sally talks about realizing each child’s individual needs and making time for them. It can be so simple, it doesn’t have to be a fancy dinner out or a whole afternoon alone, a simple 15 minute tea time to connect. In our house tea is a favorite of one child, but with the other we use chocolate milk or lemonade. Another trick I’ve used is keeping cookie dough balls frozen and ready to go. I can take out just a few have them ready in a few minutes with minimal mess. Many different kinds of cookies do well like this but two of our favorites are oatmeal chocolate chip and Earl Gray tea cookies. I will post a printable of the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in the resources by the end of the week.
At one point in my life when people would talk about decorating or creating beauty I would get overwhelmed. It seemed like it would be expensive and take precious time that I didn’t feel like I had. I have learned to I can do very simple, inexpensive things and make a big difference. For example, just putting a table cloth on our table makes it seem nicer (most of us already have a few tablecloths and if you don’t you can purchase them from yard sales or thrift stores for about a $1 each) and it makes the table easier to clean up when we are done. My daughter has taken to using pieces of seasonal fabric to recover plain place-mats to give our table a seasonal feel. Finally, my favorite trick is to simply buy either a small potted plant or fresh cut flowers for the table. I don’t’ buy the expensive ones, for about $4 I can get a nice bunch that will last me two weeks. Or I recently had a small potted plant for $6 that lasted for months. Every time I walked by my table it makes me smile.
The Table-Discipleship Principle from chapter four was, ” Practicing the rhythms of life regularly with your loved ones creates a secure feeling of belonging-of being welcomed and able to share convictions and faith with a community where one belongs. ” It is so important that our children find that sense of belonging both in our family and in God’s family. I think that so many of the struggles we see in society today stem from young adults floundering in a world where they are searching for belonging. Traditions and rhythms don’t have to be complicated elaborate parties and events, and truly I think often the small things make a bigger impact.
In our family one of our favorite traditions is to have potato soup every time it snows. If you happen to live in a more northern climate you may be thinking you would get very tired of potato soup, but here in Eastern NC that is only a couple times a year. It isn’t a complicated meal but they enjoy that tradition. Another tradition that they look forward to is ice cream sundaes for lunch on Valentine’s day (don’t worry I add in some fruit to make it more balanced 😉 ). Sally lists lots of her family’s rhythms on pages 55 and 56.
Sally talks a great deal about Romans chapter 12: 1-2 in this chapter of the book. This also happens to be the verse that we chose as our guiding verse for our homeschool this year. We live in a world where “anything goes” and a culture where morality is very subjective. This verse is a great reminder that we need to be transformed through the power of God and not of this world. As we guide our children we need to keep pointing them to the Truth of His word. Our tables become a place where we can do that multiple times each day through our love and conversation.
How can create a family identity and culture this week? It looks different for each family. We have one family that is friends of our family and their last name is Reese. They call themselves “Team Reese”. Their family happens to be big sports fans and that is a way in which they communicate with each other and other people that they are part of the same team working together towards the same goals. Our family has taken to talking about how we can work together as a family to accomplish our personal goals and whatever God desires of us. I’d love to hear in the comments one of your families favorite traditions or one way in which you are working to create a family identity.
If you have not yet gotten this book I encourage you to do so. You can find the book here or you can order it from Audible if you prefer listening to the book. If you would like to join in our online book study for more discussion please join us here.
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