Category Archives: Friendship

The Tradition of a Table

Growing up, I ate dinner with my family every night around the kitchen table—the same one that still sits in the kitchen of my parents’ house today. Each Sunday after church, we ate a home-cooked Sunday dinner at my grandparents’ house (dinner = lunch for any non-Southern readers out there). Our family of four plus my grandparents sitting around a long table passing around southern style vegetables and pot roast. I have wonderful memories of those meals and conversations.

As a single adult, I don’t often sit at the table to eat. Sometimes I do, but I’m usually accompanied by a book or a laptop. Occasionally, I have friends over for dinner but not as often as I should. This weekend was a great reminder of why I should make the effort more often.

We were celebrating the birthday of one of my best friends this weekend, so I invited my friend C and her younger sister over for supper at my house on Saturday night. I planned an entire menu—a home-cooked meal of crab cakes, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, romaine salad with mandarin oranges and blueberries, rolls and a pie for dessert. It was so much fun to prepare a meal for my friends!

The table in my dining room (shown above) belonged to my grandmother—the same table where my dad ate dinner growing up, where I ate countless Thanksgiving dinners as a child, and where my mom and dad awkwardly sat as a dating couple while my mom attempted to make an extra-large hamburger disappear into her nervous stomach. Before my friends came over on Saturday, I set my beloved table with care. I lit candles; I used the best plates, silverware and glasses. I wanted to create a special ambiance for them.

C’s younger sister, B, is a freshman in college. Now that I have a home of my own, it’s easy to forget those days of dorms and cafeteria food. B was so excited to enjoy a real meal at a real table. When she texted her friends back on campus to tell them everything about the meal, I realized that my simple dinner was a big deal to her.

And I remembered those days in college when I lived on Captain Crunch cereal and rice with soy sauce. I remembered those days when I could not even imagine cooking a meal for myself, much less inviting people over for dinner. When I saw how much it meant to B, I made a decision. I will not let that dining room table continue to remain empty 95% of the time.

I want to carry on the tradition of my grandmother’s dining room table—a table where you come as you are, where you will feel loved, where you will laugh and eat until you’re stuffed. A table where, if you don’t finish everything on your plate, someone will surely ask, “What’s wrong? Are you in love?”—just like my grandmother asked me every single time I left anything uneaten on my plate.

What were some of your childhood mealtime traditions?

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Filed under Community, Family, Friendship, Nashville

Happy 30th Birthday to Hilary!

One of my dear friends turned 30 yesterday. This weekend, we celebrated with a huge party in her honor. And today, my gift to her is in the form of a list:

30 Things I Love About Hilary

(1) She is brave

(2) She inspires me – to think deeper, to write more, to pray more

(3) Her energetic personality

(4) Her passion for the Lord

(5) She can dance to Billie Jean like no one else I know!

(6) Her beautiful smile

(7) She is introspective and self-aware

(8) Her love for her husband

(9) Her cooking skills; she invites me over on a whim and throws something (amazing) together

(10) Her passion for the cause of homelessness; she doesn’t just talk about it—she interacts with people on a daily basis who have no home

(11) Her adorable dog, Newman!

(12) Her blog

(13) She is spontaneous—she and her husband took a road trip across the entire country, camping along the way

(14) Her love for people, whether she knows them or not

(15) Her honesty

(16) She is transparent, even in the midst of really tough circumstances

(17) Her intelligence

(18) Her love for her parents

(19) She makes me laugh, a lot

(20) She challenges the status quo, especially in the area of “religion”

(21) The fact that she mourned the death of Michael Jackson for weeks (months?) and even wrote a blog post about him

(22) She doesn’t allow people to make her feel small; she stands up for herself

(23) She can be loud and crazy at times, and she can hold your hand and quietly pray for you in a public place with no hesitation

(24) Her dependence on God for guidance

(25) Her beautiful singing voice

(26) She encourages me to be the best version of myself

(27) She has big hopes and dreams

(28) Her loyalty to her friends

(29) She is beautiful—inside and out

(30) She is my friend!

Hilary, I am so glad that God made our paths cross (in a unique way)! I truly believe that he put us together at the exact right time to inspire and encourage each other. Happy Birthday! I love you and can’t wait to see what God has in store for your thirties.

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Filed under Friendship, Nashville

Encouraged

When I think about what encourages me, I immediately change the ‘what’ to ‘who’. I think about the people whom God lovingly places in my path to give me courage, to love me, and to live in relationship with me. I think about my girlfriends.

So, in order to explain what encourages me, I must introduce you to those who encourage me:

Ally challenges me, inspires me, and makes me want to be a better person—and a better servant of my Jesus.

Chasie loves me for exactly who I am, not who I am going to be someday. She pursues my friendship and shares in my daily joys and heartaches.

Dee Dee brings light and laughter into my life. She truly listens to me and seeks to understand me better.

Tanya gives me overwhelming support and love. She reminds me of my strengths and helps me overcome my weaknesses.

Hilary helps me dream the biggest dreams for my life and convinces me that I cannot settle for less than God’s best for me.

Zana is someone who God recently dropped into my life. Her passionate pursuit of God’s will for her life is contagious; she points me to Jesus again and again.

God brought these six women into my life—most of them just within the last year—to encourage me and surround me with love and laughter and grace. When I look up friend in the thesaurus, I find synonyms such as supporter, ally, comrade, and helper. These women are all of those things to me, plus more.

In addition to these women, I have many other amazing friends, family members and encouragers in my life. To all of you . . .

I thank my God every time I remember you. Philippians 1:3

What encourages me? The beautiful gift of friendship.

allisonsign

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Filed under Faith, Friendship