On one of my earlier Journey of Abundance posts, I shared that I wanted to make a special meal to celebrate my family for no good reason. I made a lasagna (with sausage instead of beef, just like they like it), some store-bought garlic bread (which they think is pretty awesome) and some steamed beets (one of their favorite veggies). I brought out a jar of home-canned peaches that I’ve hoarded because we have had no peach harvest for the past two years. I decorated the dining room with streamers, wrote acrostic poems using the names of each of my guests and made a pan of caramel-chocolate chip bar cookies.
The kids were excited!
I tried to do most of my preparation while they were outside, but it was hard to keep everything under wraps. However, I was able to keep them in the barn with their daddy while I taped up streamers and set the table with our Fiesta Ware dishes. Once I set out all of the food, it certainly looked like a party!
Once we were all seated, I told them that this meal was a special celebration of who they are and how much I love them. As we bowed our heads in prayer, I thanked God for the food and asked a special blessing over my family. I admit to getting a little bit teary-eyed, and I confess that I saw a couple of good-natured smirks due to my level of emotion. But, this is nothing new at my house. I kind of cry all of the time. When things get a little sentimental during a movie or audio book, my kids often slyly look at Mom to see if she’s crying. (And, I often am.)
My two-hour investment of time on Sunday afternoon paid off for me. I felt like this celebration was overdue, and I feel like I said some things that needed to be said. I also feel like I gave thanks more intentionally and passionately for the gift of my family than I had for a long time. Everyone wants to feel appreciated from time to time.
Many experts say that we are not to love people with food. Maybe they’re right and maybe they’re wrong. For me, I cannot help it. Every grocery store trip I make, every menu I plan, every meal I prepare is out of love for someone. Just as I feel loved when someone else prepares a meal especially for me, I believe that other people feel loved when someone prepares a meal for them. It’s part of taking care of each other.
We never know what kind of impact a dinner invitation, a delivered meal or a plate of cookies will do for someone’s spirit, just as we never know what effect a kind word, an encouraging note or even a warm smile will have on another person. Sometimes, people don’t seem to care. Sometimes, people are rude in response to our considerate gestures. That’s really not our concern. Our job is to love on the people around us, not to determine who will appreciate our efforts and who will not. We are only accountable for what we choose.
Choose love. Whether it’s through lasagna or lunch meat, choose love.
Challenge: Love on someone by fueling their hearts while filling their bellies.