Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. – Acts 2:46-47
We moved into a new home 21 months ago. In our new home we have a countertop that extends from our kitchen. When you sit at it you are sitting right in front of the cooktop and looking directly into the kitchen. There is enough room for four people. This is where we have eaten for the past 20 months. Three or four of us at the counter and my husband stands at the counter directly across from us. He is always filling our plates with additional food when we want more.
This has worked for us … until it no longer did. I noticed we would be distracted by the television behind us and as soon as someone would be done eating, they would put away their plate and go their separate ways in the house. All that would be left at the end was my husband and I. I would cook and my husband and/or myself would have to clean up.
One afternoon while prepping a meal I was listening to a Jamie Oliver cooking show. I stopped and watched because when he was done with this particular meal, he brought his plate over to the table in his kitchen, sat down and ate. That’s when the light bulb came on!
My family had been eating meals next to each other, but we had stopped sharing our meals together. We definitely had stopped eating together with glad and sincere hearts.
That afternoon I took my Christmas gift card for the fancy grocery store down the street and treated myself to a small ceramic pitcher to hold our silverware. I drove to Target to purchase a simple tray and yummy candle. I brought them home, added some napkins, and put them in the center of the kitchen table. I informed our family we would resume eating at the table again. Sharing our meals together again for whoever was home. You see – we have three kids all in their own activities. But every week night we sit down at the table with all who are available.
We’ve been doing this now for approximately a month and each one of us loves it. We have shut off the television, set the table, and brought the food to the table. We love our time together and conversations. Each evening we fill our plates, take turns saying a prayer, and our son then says, “So, how was everyone’s day?” And just like that we learn about what’s happening in each of our lives. People, there is something to be said about looking across the table at someone vs. sitting side by side. Conversation flows so much easier when you can look at each other. Listening to someone else is so much easier when you aren’t distracted by anything else.
Last week, we had finished our meal and were just sitting there together still talking. I said to the family, “You know what I love most of these dinners around the table? The fact that we don’t just get up and leave anymore. That we all enjoy each other’s conversation even after we are done eating.” Everyone agreed.
You see no one gets up anymore until all of us are done eating. And the kids are sharing in cleaning up. The kids are still able to get to their activities and still have time to study! We have definitely resumed eating and sharing a meal with glad and sincere hearts. Praise God!
During this special Valentine week we are reminded so much about love. Most of the time we are bombarded with the fact that we should be celebrating couple love. But love is so much more than that. Today I want us to think about the love you are filled with by sharing a meal with someone you care about.
There are so many places in the bible that talk about people sharing meals together. It seems to be something important we should remember. Sharing in conversation and time with others is so fulfilling for both parties.
In the photo above, we were getting ready to dine on Penne Pasta with Vodka Sauce. It is a super easy and yummy recipe. Paired with a very simple salad and some store bought garlic bread – you can have a gourmet meal without a ton of trouble. Feel free to try it at your home – I will include the recipe below.
Love comes in many shapes and sizes. God has provided us an infinite amount of ways to love on others. Today I want you to plan a meal and share it with another person you care about. A family member or a friend. Invite them to your table. Cook only what you are comfortable with – or feel free to order take out! See how genuinely happy you will feel when you are done. I promise you – more than just your belly will be full.
Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage and Vodka Sauce (adapted from Recipe 4 Living)
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 28oz. crushed tomatoes
- 1 box penne pasta
- ½ C. vodka
- 1 pound mild Italian sausage
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/8 tsp. chili flakes (or less or more – flavor as you like)
- ½ C. heavy cream
- Parmesan Cheese
- Salt and Pepper
- Fresh flat leaf parley chopped for garnish
Cook pasta according to directions on the package just until done but still a little firm.
While pasta is cooking, in a large pot over medium-high heat, add the oil and then the chopped onion. Add the Italian sausage and season with a little salt and pepper. Cook until the sausage is crumbled and cooked through, breaking up the meat when necessary. Add the tomatoes, chili flakes, and vodka. Increase the heat and let the meat sauce simmer until it reduces by about half. Add the cream and stir and then add in the cooked pasta. After 10 minutes, remove from the heat, add parmesan cheese and top with a little chopped parsley and serve.