The past three weeks we have been sick with pink eye, a respiratory infection, double ear infections for both kids, a sinus infection, and an unknown virus. I literally think I have been to the doctor more times in the past month than I have been in the past two years. If you can imagine, we are super fun people to be around, let me tell ya. I think Abel was feeling some of my frustration when he came home from work one day last week because he promptly took both boys outside to play and let me cook by myself for a good hour. He is a good man. Cooking and baking alone is my love language.
As I was chopping veggies for chicken noodle soup and listening to some soft piano music I started thinking about food and dinners all together. Growing up my mom stressed the importance of eating dinner together as a family every night. Still to this day it's one of her top pieces of advice she gives to new parents. I knew I always wanted to have dinner as a family every night but as I was making my family a meal in hopes that it would heal their bodies and make them feel a little bit better, the weight of it hit me like a ton of bricks.
I want our table to be about more than a good meal - I want it to be a safe place for my family. A place where they can share the troubles of the day, eat some yummy food, and laugh at Abel's and my silly jokes.
There is a quote from Shauna Niequist's book Bread and Wine that I just adore :
"The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. It's about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment."
Jesus did this so well. He sat and reclined at the table with his disciples. But he didn't just dine with his friends, he gathered around the table with the tax collector, the Pharisees, and the sinners alike*. Jesus knew the importance of sitting around the table breaking bread with people. The table is a sacred and inmate space where your belly is full and dialogue is welcomed. I want that kind of table, where all are welcomed.
For the rest of my hour alone cooking I prayed over our home, our family, and our table. I prayed that as soon as people came through our front door that they feel comfortable and safe. I also prayed that Abel and I would use our physical dwelling place as a somewhere that Jesus is made known and glorified.
I so deeply hope that my kids will look back and have fond memories over our dinners together as a family. I pray their friends will enjoy coming over to our home knowing that it is a place where they can expect a warm meal and know they are loved and cherished people.
My desire most of all is that our table would be a place where bellies are full, stories are told, laughs are shared, illnesses healed, tears are wept, and prayers are heard.
In Shauna's book she always puts a recipe at the end of the chapter, so I thought I would leave you with our families recipe for chicken noodle soup. I have no clue where I found this recipe but I didn't come up with it on my own - sorry to the person who originally came up with it, if I knew where I found it I give you all the credit.
Chicken Noodle Soup
3 chicken breast (bone in)
3 cloves of garlic
2 stalks of celery
4 thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
2 quarts chicken broth
8 ounces egg noodles
Boil chicken until chicken is cooked through. Shred chicken and reserve broth for later. In a skillet add the olive oil, onion, carrot, celery, and bay leaf and cook on medium-high heat until veggies are just starting to soften. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. In a large soup pot add the veggies, chicken, thyme, chicken broth**, salt and pepper and boil. Boil until veggies are almost done and then add the noodles. Continue to boil until veggies are soft (but not mushy) and noodles are done - About 10-13 minutes. Lastly, garnish with fresh parsley.
** I use half of the broth that I cooked the chicken in and half broth from a can/box. But any broth will do. Homemade bone broth is on my list of things to start making but I just haven't done it yet. Do whatever is easiest for you and your family.
This recipe is super simple but a family favorite in our home - especially when we are sick. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
*Verses of Jesus reclining at the table found here: