What Happens in My Dining Room

I’m so excited to share my dining room with you. I feel as though it’s the place where conversations happen, where friends and family come together and enjoy what’s before them, both in relationship and what’s on the plate. Coming to the table is when laughter happens and talking about your day, whether that’s good or bad. It’s a way to bring everyone together and catch up on their daily lives. This is where deep conversations happen over a cup of coffee. It’s also a place where a fun, competitive board takes place. It’s all fun and games until someone loses, right? We welcome anyone and everyone to sit at our table.

When we moved into our apartment, we decided since we’re getting a couch, we might as well look for a table as well. Sam wanted me to find the right one so he let me walk around Slumberland searching for whatever popped out at me. There were three that caught my eye. Now, I am one who prefers a square table and he likes a round one. When I first saw the one that we ultimately took home, I knew it was right. First of all, it’s rustic and the size is perfect for us. Not to mention the chairs are so comfortable. When I showed Sam the set, he liked it, but, it’s square so he was a little lost on that. He wanted to see what else was there but at the end of it, he had to agree that it was the best one, despite it being a square table. Then I noticed that it has drop down leaves and guess what! It turns into a round table! It really is a win-win!

I’m sure many of you recognize the photo hanging and you may have even seen it in your grandmother’s house or in a church. It’s most commonly found in the kitchen/dining area. I, myself, grew up with that photo in our kitchen. Year after year, I remember looking at it as a child and wondering who that man was. But I also remember having a sense of gratitude while gazing at it. I always felt peace and knowing that sitting at the table, thanking God for our daily blessings, and enjoying conversations is what it’s all about. Do you know the story? So many people recognize this iconic photo but don’t actually know the story behind it, but once you hear it, I guarantee you will appreciate it so much more.

According to what I found, back when WW1 was still fresh, a young Swedish immigrant named Eric Enstrom settled in Bovey, Minnesota. He had recently graduated from photography school and opened a shop. One day, a peddler named Charles Wilden walked into that shop hoping to sell something. Mr. Enstrom was impressed by the look of kindness on Mr. Wilden’s face and he asked if he could pose for a picture. The photographer had wanted to convey a feeling of humility and thankfulness while showcasing how difficult life was during the war. People at that time were looking for hope as things were hard then.

I remember a time when Sam and I were out to lunch and I noticed a family looking down at their phones. There was no communication at all, in fact they weren’t even looking at each other. They were completely mesmerized by the screen in their hands. I was stricken with sadness. Sadness knowing that this is the next generation and also because they are choosing to ignore the person next to them to focus on their device. I’ve noticed that people don’t communicate like they used to because they are distracted by technology. It’s become an addiction and it’s eating away at our ability to communicate and be grateful.

Our hope someday is to have a place where people can feel welcome. I want my dining room to be a place of conversation and intentionality. There is a time and a place for technology and when that text message shines on your screen, that person can wait. Unless if it’s a special circumstance. Focus on eye contact. Be present with the person you are dining with or sitting next to because you won’t get that moment back. Let them know that they are important to you.

So now this photo sits above our own table reminding us to always be grateful for what we have. No matter what life brings us, we must always count our blessings. There may be a loss of a job, finances may be tight, maybe you’re living paycheck to paycheck, or maybe you’re struggling with infertility. Whatever may be going on in your season, never forget to count your blessings and thank God for all the things he has done for you. You may not understand why you are in the season you are going through, but remember this, God is good.

Love,

The Leal’s

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