Sunday, April 12, 2015

My Favorite Spaces (post #1)

This is my first post in a new series titled, "My Favorite Spaces."  The space that gets its own first post happens to be a space at our new home.

When we bought this home, we fell in love with numerous spaces outside.  As soon as we looked at the home, I began dreaming of all the fun things we could do with family and friends in these spaces.  The first space I imagined spending lots of quality time is right here:

See the mulched area between the two large live oak trees?
It is tough to see in this photo, but those trees are expansive.  They provide a beautiful blanket of shade for the back of the home.  This photo was taken at the beginning of the live oak leaf drop, so the leaves were not nearly as thick as they now are.  I imagined (immediately upon seeing the home) placing a large table there in between the two oaks where we could enjoy many meals together as a family, and with friends.

That dream became a reality this week and we enjoyed our first meal together last night night in the space as a family.

The table is 8 ft long, so it can accommodate a lot of people.  We are so excited to be able to share fun meals with others in our community. 

Below are some photos of our little family breaking in our table.

I picked up a couple of strands of solar powered led lights from Ikea last week and hung them between the two large oaks.  Ikea also sells these fun covers for the lights (the green and white balls).  To our surprise, the lights work very well and stay on the entire night!  Thankfully, they have an off switch as well. 

the first of many colorful meals at our new favorite table and space!
What a gorgeous evening to spend out there together.  I believe spending mealtime together at the table regularly as a family is so important.  It goes beyond the fact that we are getting nourished physically.  Sharing a meal together also nurtures us emotionally, spiritually and knits us tighter together.  And our evening meal is a great time to recap what happened in our day, try to find out a little about Drew's day at work (ha--he doesn't elaborate much), and to talk about what is going on the world.  We even use the time to teach the kids various lessons.  After all, teaching happens all day long with them (Deuteronomy 6:5-7 says, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.")  Also, during mealtime, Luke and Abbey have our full attention.   This is important because they haven't seen daddy all day, and there are many times throughout the day where I cannot give them my full attention (chores have to get done and they cannot yet help with all of them).  I believe kids who get that quality time at the table each night with their family are less likely to act out or behave poorly (in order to get attention) during the day.   Miriam Weinstein, author of The Surprising Power of Family Meals, reflects that "family supper is important because it gives children reliable access to their parents. It provides anchoring for everyone's day. It emphasizes the importance of the family."  Also, as the kids learn table manners (such as saying "please" and "thank you"), they learn to share and think of others.   Really, the benefits of sharing a family meal together daily are endless.  But, don't just believe me; you can google hundreds of articles on the subject from folks who have done extensive research.  I also think it is important to invite others over for meals, as it is a wonderful way to build community and show love.  Now that I am moving further beyond cancer treatment and we are getting settled into our new home, I am excited to do that more frequently!  And, I am excited to have some fun space to do that, as it just makes it even more enjoyable!

So there you have it--one of my favorite spaces!  I'm looking forward to sharing many meals with friends and family here.   

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