Friday, January 11, 2008

A Joyful Kitchen

When casa de phillips moved into its current location 5.5 years ago the kitchen...although nice and spacious...was country blue and pink. Some of you saw this sight and hopefully such images were not burned into your brain forever.

These days the kitchen is painted a happy mixture of yellows, with red and sage accents in the draperies and accessories. Gone are the blue geese and pink accent wall. I believe it is my favorite room in the house. Some other time I must share how I painted these walls while on a school break when Tobe was away on a business trip for a week. This task involved me attempting to strategically place a telephone where I thought I might land should I happen to fall off the very tall ladder used to reach the top of the walls.

I mention my kitchen because this room of the house was the topic of my MOPS meeting this morning. Our devotional was lead by a "more experienced Mom" meaning someone who has survived the preschool years and has gone on to bigger challenges such as adolescence. This particular mother shared with us the importance of the mother in the kitchen. She was not encouraging tedious meal preparation or extensive baking sessions. Rather, she was promoting a positive Mommy vibe to radiate from the most popular room of the house.

The kitchen is where people congregate. It is a place that is deeply connected to togetherness and the pleasure of eating. Although our family is small, one can usually find all four of us stepping over and around each other as I cook supper, Tobe feeds Evelyn, Evelyn tosses her sippy cup dramatically on the floor, and Isaac attempts to search all the cabinets for hidden treasures while my back is turned. At times such chaos makes me want to run for the bathroom, feigning illness, simply to have five minutes of peace.

However, the Mom today encouraged us to embrace the hecticness that is the kitchen, especially a kitchen filled with one's family. She said that if we bring three simple things into the kitchen each time we walk through its doorways, our family will be deeply blessed.

Upon hearing this proclamation, I had my pen poised, ready to take copious notes. What would those three things be.....EVOO a la Rachel Ray? Pureed sweet potatoes a la Jessica Seinfield (whose cookbook I had nightmares about last night....seriously.)? A nifty apron that is stylish yet functional?

Although my list of possibilities could find a useful place in the kitchen, her list involved characteristics of one's Mommy self. She encouraged us to enter the kitchen with:

A. A Joyful Heart
B. A Smile at the Future of our Family (a la Proverbs 31)
C. A Mouth full of Wisdom

Buying a new bottle of EVOO or pureeing a variety of vegetables to hide in spaghetti would have been much simpler than the list provided above. I know I do not always enter the kitchen joyfully but rather sometimes stand and cook dinner while obsessing over little grievances. I struggle with always "smiling at the future" because I often defeatedly decide I will forever be sweeping up bits of dried Play-Doh and Goldfish crumbs. Sometimes the only wisdom flowing from my lips is, "Do not take the corn on the cob holders into the living room (a recent epidemic here...don't ask)."

Despite these shortcomings, I am inspired to make my cute yellow kitchen a center of joy for my family. Tonight as I walk through those doors I will enter my kitchen with a joyful heart.....even if it is simply because there is no longer a pink accent wall.


Ashley said...

Man, what a great post and something I really needed to hear.

Shanta said...

Excellent post. Thanks for that! The meat of our ladies retreat last year was in a similar vein. It was about how the Holy Spirit dwells at the dinner table. It was such an interesting history on the second piece of furniture recorded in the Bible is the table that sat next to the Ark of the Covenant and how the center of our homes is the table and how we should eat together, spend time and share together and learn community, discipline and prayer together at the table. Very good stuff.

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