speaker interview with Sarah Dubbledam

Sometimes the world gets strangely small and people begin to connect like numbered dots in a row, and we all wonder some days who is going to be the one to actually know Kevin Bacon.  Meeting Sarah was kinda like that.  A connection through a friend from high school, my literary agent, and then this gorgeous magazine I saw at Anthropologie …I knew I had to meet her.  As it turns out now, you get to meet her at Allume this year too!  She is a beautiful soul with a passion to restore the true art of being a woman to this generation.  Read the magazine’s mission and I dare you not to feel excited about it!  She is genuine, kind, true, and a world changer, and we cannot wait for you all to meet our friend, and Darling Magazine’s editor in chief, Sarah Dubbeldam!sarah1

What was your favorite food as a kid?
Chicken nuggets!

What chore do you despise the most?
Doing dishes …

When was the last time you chatted with your neighbor?
Three weeks ago because I’ve been traveling in Europe and just got home!

What sound do you love?
Birds singing quietly in the trees along with a soft wind rustling the leaves.

If you could paint a picture of a place you have been what would it be?
The main castle in the city of Prague–it is absolutely stunning and takes you back to a Medieval time …

If you could only do one thing for a whole year what would you want it to be?
Travel Europe :)

If you could learn to do anything what would it be?
Speak French!

If you could pick anyone as a mentor who would you pick?
Beth Moore. Her passion and perspective always astounds me.

What do you do with 30 minutes of free time?
Read poetry or short stories. My favorite story author is Scott Fitzgerald.

What would the dream birthday present be?
Money for shopping!

What do you want to be when you grow up?
What I’m doing now! Honestly, I am living my dream and feel so blessed by that!

What is something new you learned last week?
I learned again that you can’t judge people by appearance. I saw someone coming down the aisle of the airplane to sit next to me and thought he wouldn’t be nice and looked a little scary (haha) but he wasn’t at all and was so kind!

What do you miss most about being a kid?
Having no real responsibilities–the freedom you have and the things you worry about as a child are nothing compared to being an adult who owns a business (smile).

If gifted an all expenses paid vacation to anywhere where would you pick?
The Holy Lands!

If everything in your life aligned exactly as in your dreams, what would your life look like? Where would you live, what would you do?
I would be doing what I do now for work, but I would live in Paris in the area of Montmartre in a small apartment with my own tiny yard, my husband, and my two black and white cats …

If I was coming to your house for dinner, what would we have?
Salmon with a soy sauce and honey glaze, sautéed vegetables, white wine and dark chocolate for dessert!

What’s in your purse?
I always carry a tiny purse but jam-pack it with: chap stick, red lipstick, all my credit cards and ID, sunglass cleaning cloth, sunglasses and a lot of loose random receipts I don’t need ;)

What are your 5 favorite books?
The Bible
A Return to Modesty by Wendy Shalit
Blue Like Jazz
Flappers and Philosophers by Scott Fitzgerald
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

 

We know you can’t wait to hear from Sarah so run over and get to know her here: Twitter /// Facebook /// Instagram

speaker interview with tim willard

If you don’t know him, you should.  Tim Willard - Allume 2014 KeynoteTim has quickly become one of our favorite writers, and in the general people category he probably ranks up pretty high in the “Most fun new friends of 2014.”  He is a talented poet, wordsmith, and also apparently used to be in a band once upon another time in life.  He is funny, smart, a lover of CS Lewis, and afficionado of beauty in the world around us.  We absolutely love him and think that you will too!  You’re going to so enjoy getting to know Tim Willard!

What was your favorite food as a kid?
Most likely hot dogs and beans; but also pizza, and also ice cream, and also hamburgers.

What chore do you despise the most? 
I wish I could hire someone to take out my garbage, mostly because I always forget, which leads to panic, and me running after the garbage truck in my boxers yelling like a mad man.

When was the last time you chatted with your neighbor?
What is a neighbor?

What sound do you love?
Song of Oxford nightingale as well as the sound of moss growing in the forest as well as the sound of silence as well as the sound of my pixies giggling from their bellies as well as …

If you could paint a picture of a place you have been what would it be?
Iceland.

If you could only do one things for a whole year what would you want it to be?
I am doing it at this moment: writing a dissertation on beauty in the works of C.S. Lewis and working on my novel as well as hiking in Iceland as well as getting lost in France with my wife.

If you could learn to do anything what would it be?
Play the cello as well as drive NASCAR as well as drive a hot air balloon as well as talk to Faeries.

If you could pick anyone as a mentor who would you pick?
My father; he knows me and with that knowing comes astounding grace and freedom to be me.

What do you do with 30 minutes of free time?
Hike or work in a book idea or tickle my pixies or have a cup of tea—a cup of tea indeed!

What would the dream birthday present be?
A trip to the planet Venus.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
An astronaut as well as a farmer. I wish I could be a galactic farmer.

What is something new you learned last week?The word for healing as well as green as well as reconciliation in Old Norse is “groa” but pronounced in a very Viking sort of way.

What do you miss most about being a kid?
I’ll let you know when I stop being one.

If gifted an all expenses paid vacation to anywhere where would you pick?
Iceland.

If everything in your life aligned exactly as in your dreams, what would your life look like? Where would you live, what would you do?
I am living in such an alignment.

If I was coming to your house for dinner, what would we have?
Hot dogs and beans as well as pizza as well as hamburgers.

What’s in your purse?
What is a purse?

What are your 5 favorite books?
Portrait of an artist as a young man, for whom the bell tolls, the gospel of john, till we have faces, lyrical ballads, as well as the prelude which really isn’t a book, as well as Alice in wonderland, as well as don Quixote, as well as the man who was Thursday, as well as Phantastes …

If you want more insight into this hilarious and amazing man, go visit him: Website /// Twitter /// Facebook

More Jesus: A She Reads Truth Story & Giveaway

Welcome to She Reads Truth!!

I was 24 and single, living in a city I loved. There were 10 of us and we met weekly to study the Bible together. We spent over a year reading through the book of Acts with the help of a commentary by John Stott, who we affectionately called “Uncle John.” We were friends, we were a set, we belonged to each other. We didn’t just share a once-a-week experience together—we shared the in-betweens, too, the notable and not-so-notable parts being 20- and 30-something.

Even as a girl who grew up in the Southern church, no stranger to quiet times and devotionals and the regular Bible study trappings, reading the Bible never felt as natural to me as when I read it with those nine friends. And then I met the hashtag… that would become a community… that would become my heart’s calling— She Reads Truth.

The desire that drew me to that table of friends 12 years ago is the same one that wakes me in the morning to lead this beautiful community of God-seeking women. It is not the need for more spiritual know-how or more Bible savvy. It is simply the need for more Jesus.

Formulas are fine and workbooks are helpful, but there is no substitute for women dropping their defenses at the door and sitting down as their real, seeking selves to read the Word of God honestly with and to each other.

She Reads Truth is a place where we come together with no other goal than to read the Bible and meet Jesus there. He is the Why behind our every word.

The mission of She Reads Truth is simple and unchanging: Women in the Word of God, every day. We champion God’s Word alone, not our interpretation of it or any flowery words we place around it — not even a particular denomination. You see, we believe the Bible is for us, for you. We believe we are meant to open it, to read it, to engage and wrestle and sit with its Truth. We believe it is trustworthy and relevant, God-breathed and powerful. We believe it is as much for the woman who just met Jesus as it is for the one who has known Him for decades on end.

We believe God’s Word changes lives. And we’d love for you to come read it with us.

At She Reads Truth, we experience 1- to 3-week reading plans together as a community.  There are 3 ways to pull up a chair to the virtual She Reads Truth table—

  1. You can read along on the web site, SheReadsTruth.com.
  2. You can read along on the She Reads Truth Bible + Devotional ios App (Android app coming super soon!).
  3. You can receive devotionals via email by subscribing here.

Whether you choose any or all of the above, y’all come! (Did we mention we’re from the South?)

Something we love to do for our community is to create lovely, functional study packs as an optional, tangible resource for our SRT women to use to enhance their study and their time in God’s Word. These study packs include a custom, boutique-style journal with space to process and pray through what you’re learning, scripture prints and cards to visibly and beautifully weave God’s Word into your everyday lives, all featuring art from artists we love.

In fact, we’d love to give away a couple study packs to you girls today if that’s okay?  
hospitality with allume

Giveaway

Enter below by leaving a comment for a chance to win a $50 credit to the She Reads Truth Shop!  Use your credit to purchase study packs for our next two studies — Hospitality (written in collaboration with Allume!) and In Everything Give Thanks—or buy two copies of the same and work through the study with a friend!

Giveaway ends at 11:59PM EST on Friday.

Friends, we are so happy to meet you. We truly hope you’ll stop by and read along with tens of thousands of our closest friends as we seek the Lord daily in His Word. He is faithful to meet us there.

P.S. We get to meet some of you next week at Allume!! Come find us. We can’t wait!
xo,
Amanda & Raechel

_________

Amanda Bible Williams (@biblewilliams) is the Editorial Director of She Reads Truth, a community of women who read the Bible together daily. She works alongside the lovely Raechel Myers (@raechelmyers), She Reads Truth co-founder and CEO, to joyfully walk with women around the world as they go to Jesus— just as they are, every day. Raechel and Amanda both live and work in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

 

Meet-Up’s and Roommate Link Up!

Another year of hard work, and in just a few days, the fruit of our labor comes alive in all of the faces gathered together for the 2014 Allume Conference. Frozen names and avatars will erupt into lively squeals and hugs.  Online relationships come alive, and our opportunity to impact the world for the Kingdom of Heaven increases.  Instead of dots haphazardly scattered across a map, we become a line of linked arms with the power to sweep a nation for Jesus.  We are better together…better in community.

SO let’s get ready to gather!

We love our informal meetups!  They give you a little more intimate look into some of the communities that feed into and out of Allume.  We are hoping you make the time to join at least one:

Friday – 5:30 – 6:30pm

  • Food4theHungry – Think Tank: Come and learn more more about the ministry of Food for the Hungry at their fhblogger meet up (www.fhbloggers.org). How they provide more than Food to the world’s most vulnerable. How they provide hope to those in need and how you can be there voice as a person of influence online and in your community. Join many other bloggers such as Kristen Howerton, Alli Worthington, Logan Wolfram, and many more amazing women that have visited Food for the Hungry communities all over the world and learn more of how you too can be a part of helping be a voice of the voiceless. We hope to see you there!
  • Seed Company Blogger Meetup – Prayer Room:  Come learn more about the work of the Seed Company and hear from their team of Bloggers.

Saturday – 5:00 – 6:00pm

  • Compassion – Think Tank:  Come hear more about Compassion Bloggers from Shaun Groves and Bri McKoy. This is also a time to meet some of the trip bloggers and get to know other people in the Compassion Bloggers Network!
    God Sized Dream: Crepe Myrtle: God-Sized Dreams, an on-line community of encouragement and inspiration for dreamers, is excited to host its first Allume meet up to welcome contributing writers, guest posters, and members of the God-Sized Dreams community.  Please stop by to visit with fellow dreamers and share how we can pray with you as your dream changes and grows.
  • hope*ologie: H: Whether you’re a member or just a Hope*ologist at heart, come join sisters Emily P. Freeman, Myquillyn Smith (The Nester) and their parents, Gary and Brenda, for some laughs, a high-five and some hope-filled conversation. There may or may not be a ukelele.
  • Over 50**Teal : Many women think approaching the big 5-0 means their best days are behind them. At The Consilium, we prove that our best days are ahead! We laugh, cry and pray together, and encourage one another through the challenges that come with being the “sandwich generation”. We invite you to celebrate this season of life as we walk in community, knowing God will use us to increase His Kingdom.

And as a community, we want you to have the opportunity to get to know one another.  Life happens in relationships, and we want to help you build them even before you arrive.  In the past we have done a link-up for attendees to get to know their roommates, so if you want to post a “10 Things My Allume Roomie Should Know About Me” then we welcome it.  If you’re like us and up to your eyeballs getting ready for the conference, then link up your “About Me” page from your blog.  The point is, we want to get to know you…and other attendees do too.

Photo Credit: Kim Deloach


Words Matter

20140406_AnnieBarnett_WordsMatter1{Photo Credit: Annie Downs}

A welcome to (in)courage!

Words matter. Words matter so much that God used them to create the universe. He spoke it into being. He called it good. And in His pursuit of a relationship with us, He gave us His Words to learn and live by, an invitation to pursue the high calling of sharing His story with the world.

John 1:1 (HCSB): In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

As bloggers and writers, our words matter. We can choose to speak encouragement into the lives of our readers, to share our story and give someone hope. Our words can cheer one another on as we pursue our callings. In our day-to-day lives our words teach, train, discipline, forgive, give grace, love, and say “me, too.”

Ephesians 4:29 (NLT):  Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

We can choose to use our words to invite others into our lives, into our communities. Our hands hold open the door unlocked by kind words and hearts can be healed simply be hearing “we saved you a seat.”

At (in)courage we’ve seen the power of believing our words matter. We’ve watched as women find hope, joy, encouragement and friendship on the pages of our blog – and we’ve seen them bravely step into real life community as they’ve read and listened to the stories of other women who share the hard stories first. Women around the world choose words that “make souls stronger” as they pray for each other on the pages of a blog that defies time zones.

Proverbs 16:24 (ESV): Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

Our heart is always to be a home for the hearts of women, a safe place to come in, kick up your feet and connect with like-hearted sisters in Christ. Our hope is that the words we write would encourage, equip, and inspire you in your walk. And we have partnered with DaySpring to create products that give you the tools to connect beyond the blog – and we’re excited to share our line of Words Matter Art Prints with you {and offer a little giveaway!}.

The Words Matter Art Prints line offers beautifully designed prints featuring encouraging and inspiring Scripture and quotes from our (in)courage writers. More than a greeting card, these prints are meant to be displayed and enjoyed – but are easily sized to mail to a friend or give as a gift!

Some days, we just need a gentle reminder of God’s truth in our lives. Use the art prints to display that truth in a beautiful, tangible way! Frame them and set on your desk or mantle, hang on your wall, make a collage out of several of them, hang on your magnet wall, display them wherever you want to see the beautiful reminders. In case you were wondering how our own writers use them, here’s what Sarah Mae had to say:

MemeSarahMae

Giveaway

Because we believe that words matter, and because we love you, we’d like to give 3 of you an art print of your choice! Head over to DaySpring, check out the beautiful designs, and comment on this post and tell us which one is your favorite!

Don’t forget to leave your email address so we can contact you if you win. Giveaway ends Friday at 11:59EST.

Cat Springs Tea

loose-leaf-yaupon-tea

 

Sisters, Abianne Miller Falla and JennaDee Miller Detro, have launched Cat Spring Tea together.  It’s a completely vertical enterprise – we harvest, we transport, we manufacture, and we ship.  Oh, and we are also marketing an entirely new product category: a caffeinated tea that is grown natively in the United States called yaupon tea.  We are also learning how to work with individuals in need of second chance employment opportunities.  We are honored and delighted to see our family pull together to build this company.  Abianne and I could not attempt this alone; our sister, our mom, and the three men in our lives afford us great encouragement and lots of man hours!

Yaupon has been a thorn in the side for most farmers and ranchers (including our dad) in our area of Texas; calling it a “tenacious weed” is putting it mildly. We discovered that yaupon, this native understory tree, had been a special drink for Native American ceremonies as well as considered a daily source of energy.

We started playing around with different ways to prepare the tea in 2012 – we borrowed from eastern tea practices, researched how different Native American tribes consumed the beverage, and were informed by South American yerba mate preparation; we ran a gamut of taste tests! Americans from New York to Hawaii, already on the lookout for yaupon tea, contacted us to participate as we developed our tea preparation methods.

Through this process, we’ve discovered that yaupon tea is rich in caffeine at an octane higher than tea and slightly less than coffee. And the even better news? It offers theobromine – the same caffeine that’s in dark chocolate – so it provides a “jitter free” energy boost. It also contains antioxidants galore. While we’ve not yet tested our specific tea, research at the University of Florida compare the content potential to that of blueberries! And research at Texas A&M indicates that the leaves possess anti-inflammatory and chemo-preventative properties as tested in human colon cells. Pretty heady news for a humble plant that’s routinely bulldozed and burned to control its growth.

The historical legacy that we’ve discovered has been astounding. Yaupon has been thriving for many centuries in the United States, although we seem to have only recently “discovered” the enjoyable yaupon tea. Essentially, Native Americans benefited from yaupon tea, and we moderns forgot about it.

Widespread consumption dating back before A.D. 1050 along the Mississippi River has recently been confirmed by archaeological research. 17th century records are replete with trade agreements, cultivation, and preparation methods of yaupon tea among the native people and the Spanish explorers, missions and outposts. Yaupon tea was exported to France by the name “Appalachina” and to England by the name “Cassina.”

Along with colonization, coffee and Asian tea imports increased in the United States. Serving imported tea came to be considered an act of high
society and misunderstanding about the Native American ceremonial use of yaupon tea was widely circulated.

Recommended as a commercial crop in 1919 and 2009 in Journal of Economic Botany articles, yaupon tea was an imported tea and coffee substitute during American Civil War blockades. Yaupon tea was later promoted in a United States Department of Agriculture study to counter the caffeine shortage and promote the World War II effort. Who knew we were literally surrounded by such unappreciated resources with quite a history?!

America could rediscover yaupon tea.  Alongside the opportunity to give these Texas tea trees a second chance, we desire to resource the largely untapped workforce of Texans struggling with the effects of poverty. Our goal is to offer second chance employment through our harvesting and tea manufacturing work – right now it’s all done by hand!  We have come to deeply appreciate the organizations and their members who support these brave individuals as they radically change their lives.  We’ve learned that there are few “first rung” job opportunities on the corporate ladder from poverty to middle class jobs.  Could our young tea company provide more life changing opportunities?  We hope to find out!

We’d love to share our yaupon tea with you whether you’re looking for an alternative source for caffeine or are curious about this forgotten resource. Please, visit us at www.catspringtea.com

speaker interview with saul robles

Saul Robles has been a friend of Allume since the days of its inception.  He is the Director of Marketing and Commerce for Dayspring, but anyone who knows him calls him Santa Saul.  Some say it’s because he often comes bearing fabulous Dayspring gifts, but we like to think it has more to do with the generous spirit he wears like a uniform.  Saul has been reading blogs for ages, and creates welcome wherever he goes.  It is our pleasure to have our friend Saul not just joining us at the conference this year, but sharing some of his wisdom, knowledge, and heart as well!

 

 

What chore do you despise the most?

I will never understand the lawn thing.

What sound do you love?

Despite living in small-town Arkansas, I’m a city boy at heart. I love the sounds of the hustle and bustle of a city.

If you could only do one things for a whole year what would you want it to be?

Chase Fall… I have a theory that at any given time Fall is happening somewhere around the world and I have a dream of finding it and following it around for an entire year.

If you could learn to do anything what would it be?

I can’t wait to learn to play the violin in heaven and jam with the heavenly choirs.

What would the dream birthday present be?

Email amnesty or email jubilee, or whatever the term would be to clear out my inbox(es)

What is something new you learned last week?

I’m painfully more aware that my high tolerance for chaos works against my heart’s desire for being present.

If gifted an all expenses paid vacation to anywhere where would you pick?

I received this gift a few years back and I’m looking forward to it… heaven!

If  I was coming to your house for dinner, what would we have? 

We would definitely go out to eat… how about some Ozark plateau cuisine?

 

To learn more about Saul :: Twitter /// Facebook

Must Writers Read?

Welcome to Tyndale Publishers!

“Great writers are great readers”

read_with_me_730x900

I know what Stephen King and Jerry Jenkins would say, but what about you? Is reading one of your non-negotiables?

I don’t know if it marks the path to writing greatness, but I do believe reading is incredibly important. I’m a classic introvert – books have been my great escape since childhood. Even in the throes of grad school I still managed to have at least one book of choice in progress at all times. Thus my bucket stayed full.

Then came motherhood. In the craziness that is the transition of adding a new person to the family, I let reading slip by the wayside. My bucket was empty and I was not in a happy place. Granted, there are a lot of other things that slipped by the wayside, but reading was the first old friend I ran to in search of myself. Since then I’ve been diligent about carving out time, even if it’s just 5-10 minutes, to connect with a good book each day. It’s part of my self-care regimen right up there with exercise and teeth brushing. I must read.

Here are three reasons why my soul can’t go a day without reading:

• Space. Solitude is crucial to wellness for me. I need the space and the focus on a single stream of words that reading brings.

• Camaraderie. Words bring us together. But the beauty of it is we don’t always have to leave the comfort of our solitude to be together. A lot of my reading the past couple years has been books by moms about momming. They just get me. It’s good to be reminded we’re not alone in this world.

• Inspiration. It only takes a spark, right? When I read I’m inspired to write. Simple as that.

I have loved books from my very earliest days. There are stacks or shelves of books in every room of my house. I blame my dad. One of the things I clearly remember him saying when I was a kid is, “you can never have too many books”. I don’t remember the context anymore, but I’ve taken it as permission to collect. all. the. books. I’m definitely not a read-it-once-and-pass-it-on kind of person. Words are wonderful but we mustn’t forget about the spines! Sometimes I reorganize my books just to look at the beautiful spines and for a while. I might be ready to admit that working for a publisher could potentially lead to someday owning too many books. But I still can’t bring myself to part with any. And get out of the way if I catch wind of free books!

Tell me I’m not alone. Anyone?

Speaking of free books…

Come on over and check out TyndaleRewards.com. It’s as simple as signing up, telling us a bit about yourself, sharing about the program and picking out free books. We want to know our readers better and we want to give away books. Best. Job. Ever!

Consider this your personal invitation to join the Tyndale Rewards community. It’s free. We have books. We love bloggers (drop a line to editor at TyndaleRewards.com and introduce yourself, I love checking out new blogs).

Ever thought of starting a book club on your blog? Pick a book from our site, collect the points, tell your friends or readers to do the same. Bam! Free books all around. Every time one of your readers uses your referral code you get points. More free books! What could be better? It’s a great program and we’d love for you to join the community.

Read on, friends.
Rachel Lance
Editor, TyndaleRewards.com

speaker interview with annie downs

Annie Downs is incredibly delightful.  She is warm, authentic, hilarious and loves God.  She’s passionate about using her writing to highlight the everyday goodness of a real and present God to young women, college students and adults.  She writes so beautifully and with such a welcoming spirit.  Honestly, she is one of our favorite people on the planet.  We know that you are going to fall in love with her too… if you haven’t already and we are honored to introduce to you our friend, Annie Downs.

 

 

If you could only do one things for a whole year what would you want it to be?

I would eat out every meal with a friend. For a whole year, that would be like 1000 meals that I would get to share with friends and family and eat at really fun restaurants. I would set a goal to not repeat a restaurant more than once a week and I would write some sort of blog or website about who I ate with and where we ate and rate the food.

(Uh oh, this just got really real and seems like a great idea. LOOK OUT 2015!)

If you could learn to do anything what would it be?

I love learning new things. It is probably my favorite hobby. So I like to learn how to do things as much as possible. Today, I’ve been thinking that I would really like to learn how to use a sewing machine. My grandmother always sewed things for us, and I want to be able to do that for other people too.

What do you do with 30 minutes of free time?

I read. I always have a few books going at a time and even a few magazines strewn around the house that I wish I sat down and read more often. But when I do have a little 30 minute window, I grab something to read.

What do you miss most about being a kid?

Playing outside in the afternoon and reading as much as I want. I think I also miss what I didn’t know I had- the ability to lay my head down on my pillow and have zero concerns about the next day or the bills or how life was going to work out.

If gifted an all expenses paid vacation to anywhere where would you pick?

Scotland. I lived there for six months about three years ago and I am dying to get back and see my friends and the parts of the country I was never able to visit. I could happily get lost in those little villages down the east coast of the country. I would love to see the northern islands and the highlands areas. I love reading historical landmark signs, so I wouldn’t mind being driven around (this is all expenses paid, right?) and stopping every twenty minutes to see and read about the deep history of that beautiful place. (Now I’m homesick for Edinburgh… sigh…)

If I was coming to your house for dinner, what would we have? 

Ohhhh…. well. We wouldn’t just stay at my house, because my house is boring and the kitchen is broken. (Not really, but it makes me feel better to imagine that the reason the stove doesn’t turn on that much is because it doesn’t work, not because I don’t work.) We would walk across the street to a delicious restaurant called Copper Kettle where you can get the best coconut fried chicken in all of Nashville. I would let you pick which two vegetables you’d like, but I’d strongly encourage at least one of them to be the green bean casserole. Then we’d be almost as full as ticks, but we’d have enough space left to head next door to the homemade popsicle shop. Because I can’t eat dairy, I’d have a strawberry one, but I’d practically insist you have the cookies and cream popsicle because it is heavenly.

What are your 5 favorite books?

Christy by Catherine Marshall

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman

Here’s To Hindsight by Tara Leigh Cobble

 

To learn more about Annie visit her here :: Website /// Twitter

Around the Table

Around the Table 1

A warm welcome to Mary & Martha.

Around the table. Three very powerful words.

Sometimes it is just easier to drive through and eat in front of the TV or just eat in the car. I get that. Boy, do I get that. This one has soccer, this one dance, this one piano, this one…

Just getting them to the right places at the right time is monumental. It’s a conundrum I know all too well. After having 4 children in 5 ½ years, I was a mom who acted more like cruise director.

But…but…but…

Get them around that table!

The Table. Perhaps there is no more important place in our homes. No more important place for our families. Studies have shown that children who eat family meals (around the table) do better in school, are less likely to get depressed, less likely to use drugs or alcohol, and they are better socially prepared when they leave home.

So much of life happens around the table. Big announcements are celebrated! Family budget or vacation plans are discussed (these two are closely related in my home), funny stories or jokes are told, memories are made, and moments are shared. Tears & laughter are both equally welcome.

But something much deeper takes place right between the mashed potatoes and the roast beef: community evolves.

Real community. Care, commitment, and unity are birthed, grow and mature. That table with its four legs, flat surface and steady stance, takes away all the ‘me’ and replaces it with ‘we.’

Now I have seen my share of turmoil around our table.

The complaints (do they hate everything I cook?), shouting matches (why can’t we all be happy? We have food to eat and family to share it), and my personal favorite, dramatic departures (academy award winning performances).

But even the ugly contribute to community. Those are shared moments as well. After all, when it comes to emotion, there is usually passion at both ends of the continuum. I always figured if my kiddos had that much passion towards one another in anger, they would probably have that much passion in love for one another as well. Which – I am glad to report – really did prove to be true now that they are all adults.

And guess what? We still gather around that table at least once a week. Although the dramatic departures and shouting matches have disappeared, there is still the occasional complaint: “Really?! No homemade whipped cream?!” To which I reply, “Really!”

So whether you grab a drive-thru dinner, pick up a grocery store rotisserie chicken, or make a meal from scratch, bring them back to the table.

After all it’s the people who matter, not the food! So go ahead and eat a drive-thru cheeseburger on a real plate, use cloth napkins, or light some candles. They might wonder why the change… let them.

And one day they will sit at your table as adults and will have discovered that all those childhood moments around the table were all about community, not the food.

Kim Marquette, Director of Sales for Mary & Martha