Last week I shared about kitchen tables I’ve had since I was a young married woman. I gave away a set of all four books in the Amish Vines and Orchards series. The winner of that giveaway was Robin of Raleigh, North Carolina. This week’s post is written by Miriam Flaud, my Old Order Amish friend who was my coauthor in Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into An Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. At the end of the post, I invite you to enter a new giveaway of another set of all four books in the Amish Vines and Orchards series.
Kitchen Tables, Part 2~
By Miriam Flaud
Every year we hold an Amish school sale, auctioning off homemade items to English and Amish alike, to raise funds for the local school. To reward those who organize and survive the busy auction, we hold a lobster supper. Our friends from Massachusetts, Chuck and Carolyn, have been faithfully attending the sale and bringing fresh lobsters for the past eight years. We add steaks, baked potatoes, a salad, and some fresh fruit, and it turns out to be quite a feast.
The evening of the thirty-first annual auction, a weary group gathered around my dining room table, ready to relax and unwind. At the last minute my husband and I decided to add a few more leaves to extend the table. While we pulled on both ends at once, the runners underneath gave way. My table broke in half and crashed to the floor, spilling platters of food and cups of melted butter everywhere. One guest went sliding across the floor, nearly falling in a puddle of butter.
I just stood there, watching the chaotic scene around me, too stunned and embarrassed to move. Finally getting down on all fours to retrieve a runaway potato, I came face to face with my husband, who was going after the lobster. Daniel looked at me and said, “Monday morning you go to Zimmerman’s Furniture and buy a new table.”
Suddenly my humiliation turned to excitement. My old table had been giving me grief for a long time, and the prospect of owning a new one was thrilling.
The right word spoken at the right moment can turn a negative situation into a positive one. When our perspective of an event changes, our attitudes change as well, even if the circumstances remain the same. After the table had been temporarily put back together and I was helping my guests find their places again, I felt blessed for our time around the table. Even a broken one. Even in the midst of all the chaos. Somehow those pieces of wood had managed to knit us all together.
On Monday morning I stood at the kitchen table looking at the piece of furniture I was about to replace. I ran my hand over the top, feeling all the dents and scratches from years gone by, gazing at the splatters of tole paint left behind from countless crafts. Each mark had a story.
A lot had taken place around this table in the past twenty-five years. I served my first meals to my new husband here. After our fourth child arrived, we added a leaf. This was where we’d celebrated all their birthdays and taught them to pray at mealtime.
Many Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas dinners had been shared as we gathered around this table. We added yet another leaf when we welcomed our two daughters-in-law, and we extended the table again recently to make room for our dear grandchildren.
This is where we as a family have gathered not only to take in food to nourish our bodies but to partake of spiritual food for our souls as we have celebrated life, God’s love, and our love for Him and for one another. Here we have shared our disappointments and heartaches.
The more I thought about it, the idea of a new table became less appealing. In spite of its wobbly ways, I held off making that trip to Zimmerman’s.
Spring planting gave way to summer chores and activities. Soon we were into the fall harvest, with the holidays just around the corner. My unsteady old table had to be replaced before the next huge family gathering.
But when my good English friend Katrine offered to help refinish the old table, I eagerly agreed. We sanded for days, removing the old finish, the dents, and the scratches. We took the extension runners apart and sanded each one smooth, then securely reattached them. Then came the staining and coats of polyurethane. My beat-up old table was transformed into a beautiful heirloom.
On Thanksgiving Day, as my family gathered around my “new” table, I felt extremely grateful for my friend’s help as she’d selflessly sacrificed her time, skill, and effort. I felt truly blessed by her friendship, and I was thrilled to be able to restore and strengthen the most important piece of furniture in my home.
In much the same way, when we give our hearts to God, we change from the old to the new. He sands down the rough selves, transforming us into new selves by grace, with faith. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
If you are reading about this giveaway anywhere other than my website, such as on Facebook, in an email, or on Goodreads, please hop on over to the website by clicking here: http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/2014/02/12/kitchen-tables-part-2-and-four-book-giveaway/ and then leave a comment at the bottom of the post under the words “Leave a Reply.”
The deadline for this contest is Wednesday, February 19, at noon Eastern Time. The winner will be chosen using Random.org and will be contacted privately, as well as announced on next week’s post. As always, please remember that all of my giveaways are limited to US residents only. Please visit my giveaway rules and FAQ page for a complete explanation of the terms and conditions of this giveaway. There is a list of helpful tips for first-time commenters below the following recipe.
If you’d like to pre-order book four, Seasons of Tomorrow, through Amazon, you may do so by following this link http://www.amazon.com/Seasons-Tomorrow-Amish-Vines-Orchards/dp/0307729982/ref=la_B001JP7NRS_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1390938080&sr=1-1
Recipes for YOUR Kitchen Table
For recipes shared on my blog, go here http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/recipes/recipes-from-blog/
For recipes shared by readers, go here http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/recipes/recipes-shared-by-readers/
Helpful info for first-time commenters:
- For your protection against web crawlers gathering your e-mail address for purposes of spamming, please do not put your e-mail address into the body of your comment. Only write it in the field provided. That way only I can see it.
- Your e-mail address will ONLY be used to contact you if you win.
- When you leave a comment, you may see a pop-up screen that says your comment has gone to “moderation.” That means it is in a holding place until either my daughter-in-law or I can approve it. That keeps spammers from being able to post a comment. If you comment while we’re away from our computers, we may not get to it until the next day.
- The commenter form asks for your name, feel free to only give your first name.
- Please be sure to type in the correct e-mail address so we can contact you if you win.
- The third field states: Got a website? This is simply a question. You may leave that field blank. If I could, I’d remove that field, but this is a WordPress comment form, and I can’t hone it to my liking. <smile>
- If you’ve been notified that you’ve won and you’re unsure about giving your postal address by replying to an e-mail, I welcome you to send the name of the item you won and your postal address through the Contact Cindy page of this website: http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/about-cindy/contact/ We keep good records, so we’ll be able to verify your information and get the item in the mail as soon as possible.
RECAP: The deadline for this contest is Wednesday, February 19, 2014, at noon Eastern Time, but I won’t send out any of the books in the series until I receive my author copies of the fourth book, Seasons of Tomorrow. I’ll aim to have the books to the winner by April 15.
Congratulations to the winner of the previous blog contest. Robin in NC won autographed copies of all four books in the Amish Vines and Orchards series.