Rest for the Weary: Finding a Sabbath Routine that WORKS!

Brohgan Dieker

Brohgan Dieker

Brohgan Dieker is dedicated to answering the "what's for dinner" question with healthy, quick recipes that can accommodate busy schedules. She is a devout Christian, a wife and mother, and a lover of words and books. She lives in the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas and holds a degree in English from Kansas State University.
Brohgan Dieker

I see you, weary friend.  I see that the world has gotten you down. Actually, I AM you. Or, just like you. Does this sound familiar?

Dinner was a mess. You have agreed to too many activities. There’s still a pile of laundry looming by the washer and dirty dishes in the sink. Your e-mail inbox is screaming to be checked. There’s a stack of bills, and as soon as those are paid, a whole new stack arrives.

I see you as you hurriedly shuffle through the grocery store, grabbing bread because you ran out. I see you, but we’re too busy to notice each other. 


I’m just like you. I’m busy and weary too.

When I read a suggestion about taking a regular weekly rest, I loved the idea. I would lay in a hammock and read books on a Sunday afternoon. I would pray. I would catch up on that Bible reading plan I abandoned back on Monday.

But when I read further and discovered that this day of rest had a name, Sabbath, I felt a heavy weight being added to my shoulders.

On top of everything else, a holy day?

Is it not enough that I taught Sunday school and volunteered on Wednesdays? Is it not enough that I schlupp my grouchy kid to church on Sunday and attend a Bible study?

I’m doing everything. How am I ever going to find time for a holy day in my week?
So, I resisted. I ignored the suggestion, burning in spirit-form in the back of my brain. But a few weeks later, I couldn’t ignore it anymore. Despite myself, I went back and studied this Sabbath thing a little more.


Let me explain a sample schedule for you.

Spend Monday through Wednesday doing the laundry. I can do that. 

Meal plan and go to the grocery store on Thursday. On Friday, vacuum. I can handle those.

Do those last second chores like mowing and errands on Saturday morning and afternoon, sometimes rushing because you know that the rest is coming and that it is worth it. Set out clothes for church on Sunday. Make sure that there is easy food options for the next day.

And then, the final prep. (Eek! My favorite part!) Go into your kitchen on a Saturday evening, before it gets dark. Pick out a favorite meal–it can be special, but it doesn’t have to be–and make it for your family.

Mm. Yes.  Be the blessing.


Set out your best dishes and light a couple of candles. Call some people that are dearest to your heart to the table.

Enjoy a meal together. Savor it, because you know that THIS is the greatest part of the week. Pray together. Discuss a section of scripture, maybe, or just talk about how God was great this last week. Be open and vulnerable and real. Amen.

Since you have already prepared for Sunday morning, there’s less of a rush. It’s not going to be perfect, but there’s a whisper peace in the midst of it.

Languish in the rest of the day. Sunday. Easy meals are ready in the fridge for whoever wants something, and chores are ignored. Togetherness is celebrated.

And suddenly, Monday isn’t something to be dreaded, because you’re prepared for anything that comes your way. And if your week turns out uglier than you anticipated, you think of the rest waiting for you on Saturday, and it’s suddenly bearable again.

Sabbath takes practice. It is a practice


And, sometimes it goes all wrong.

Sometimes everyone has fevers that week, and nobody does laundry so some essentials get thrown in. Sometimes you don’t get the main ingredient from the store, and your family enjoys a sabbath dinner of canned refried beans with spoons. 

Yep.

Or, sometimes you try really hard to this meal perfect just to burn yourself on a 400 degree pan and spend the entire dinner with your hand in a bowl of water. 

True story.

Or, if you’re like me, a parent of littles, you pray a quick sing-songey prayer at dinner and spend the meal avoiding someone smearing mushed carrots into your hair, and save the majority of serious talk for after bedtime. (If you’re still awake…)

It’s not about being perfect. IT’S NOT ABOUT BEING PERFECT. There is grace in the practice.

It’s about the rest. And the recognition of good in your life. And the time together. And the honoring of God.

It’s about the savoring. There is grace in the practice.

Sometimes there’s a soccer tournament on Sunday or a birthday party Saturday night, and you get to decide if these things are restful. There is grace in the practice.
Be intentional with your time. Dare to rest. Sabbath.

Please, let me know how it goes.

How I Pray For My Son’s Future Valentine

Brohgan Dieker

Brohgan Dieker

Brohgan Dieker is dedicated to answering the "what's for dinner" question with healthy, quick recipes that can accommodate busy schedules. She is a devout Christian, a wife and mother, and a lover of words and books. She lives in the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas and holds a degree in English from Kansas State University.
Brohgan Dieker

On Tuesday, Valentine’s Day, my husband and I woke up with our sweet little almost-one-year-old son snuggled between us in our bed. He had been invited in sometime in the very early morning, a little set of sleepy blue eyes blinking awake.

“It’s Valentine’s Day,” Adam quietly reminded me.

It was a cold, clear morning here in Kansas, and Adam began his morning routine. As sun streamed in through the window, I paused just a moment to snuggle that little body a little closer and breathe in over his strawberry blond hair.

“I will gladly be your Valentine for as long as you need me to.”


Even though my son is little, I find myself thinking about her already: his future Valentine. My so-called nemesis. The woman who, decades from now, will win his heart. And, in doing so, will take him away from me. His mother. His mommy.

Will she exist? My heart says yes. How do I know? I don’t.

But boy, do I ever pray for her, that little girl somewhere in the world. A parallel little life that might someday change ours.

I wonder if she was rocked to sleep last night.

I wonder if she loves whales and roosters and fish and doggies as much as my boy.

I wonder if someone reads with her every day. I wonder if she asked to read The Bunny Rabbit Show book eight hundred times this week like my boy.

I don’t know the future. I don’t know about my son’s someday preferences, his life choices. That doesn’t stop me or even give me pause.

Because, someday my son might not need his mom to be his Valentine anymore.

And I want his someday girl to be as close to God’s heart as possible.

So, I bring God’s ear low, and I pray for her. In Jesus Christ’s name, I pray to a loving God who holds the future and still listens.

And this is how I pray.

1. I pray that she is healthy and strong.

I pray for her development, her coordination, her learning, her nourishment.

2. I pray for her parents.

I pray for wisdom in parenting. I pray for their marriage and that they will love each other deeply. I pray that they will model love and loyalty to their little girl.

3. I pray for her church and community.

I pray that she has people in her life that also are praying for her often. I pray for her church, that they will encourage her to look to Christ. I pray for the church leadership whose job it is to shepherd this family.

4. I pray that Adam and I will know her someday and love her like she’s our own from the moment we meet her.

I pray that someday I can tell her that I’ve prayed for her entire life.

It’s not because she has to be perfect or even about purity. It’s solely because if my heart thinks that there is someone out there who can someday love my little boy as much as I do, I want that person wrapped up in prayer. I want to start caring for her now.

Even so, son, I will gladly be your Valentine for as long as you need me. There is no rush. Xoxoxo

Fancy Weeknight Rigatoni

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Creamy tomato sauce with a kick over rigatoni pasta.  This recipe is easy enough to cook on a weeknight, but fancy enough for our six course dinner that Anna and I served at the Iron Clad in Wamego, Kansas.  Best of all, it’s budget friendly and all of the ingredients can be found at Aldi grocery stores!

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This post is part of a series of posts about a six course dinner served at the Iron Clad in Wamego, Kansas. Please click here to view yesterday’s Kale and Roasted Acorn Squash Salad.

 

Creamy tomato sauce with a kick over rigatoni pasta. This recipe is easy enough to cook on a weeknight, but fancy enough for our six course dinner that Anna and I served at the Iron Clad in Wamego, Kansas. Best of all, it's budget friendly and all of the ingredients can be found at Aldi grocery stores!

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My sister Anna (the non-baker) and I served a six course meal to our family at the historic Iron Clad building in Wamego, Kansas.  Yesterday, I wrote about a Kale and Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Honey Balsamic Dijon Dressing.

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Today is about this pasta. This recipe is a winner with a crowd. It’s a recipe I would consider to be restaurant quality except it’s terribly simple.

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Dinner with extended family in a beautify venue isn’t something that happens every day.  We  are mindful eaters, but we splurged and celebrated with spicy yet creamy sauce over fun to eat pasta.

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We treated ourselves, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Well, most of us did anyway. One person at the table was limited to rice cereal, and he was less than thrilled about it.

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But, he was excited about being all together.

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Except, don’t eat that butter.  There’s a line, folks.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz package of rigatoni
  • 1 c Alfredo sauce
  • 1 1/2 c marinara sauce
  • 1 tsp crushed red peppers
  • 1/2 a package of frozen peas, or 1 can
  • Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  1. Boil pasta per package directions.
  2. While waiting for the water to boil, combine the next four ingredients in a sauce pan over a low heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. After the pasta has been drained, drizzle with olive oil to keep noodles from sticking. Spoon into bowls and top with Parmesan.

 

Kale and Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Honey Balsamic Dijon Dressing

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This salad–kale, roasted acorn squash, goat cheese, sliced pears, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and honey balsamic dijon dressing–is dramatic yet packed with fiber-rich superfoods. An attention getting show-stopper that is perfect for any meal or event.  It is the remedy for the end of summer blues and eases the transition to fall. Save this recipe for the honey balsamic dijon dressing alone! So yummy! Thank you to Iron Clad in Wamego, KS for allowing us to use your beautiful facility!

This salad--kale, roasted acorn squash, goat cheese, sliced pears, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and honey balsamic dijon dressing--is dramatic yet packed with fiber-rich superfoods. An attention getting show-stopper that is perfect for any meal or event. It is the remedy for the end of summer blues and eases the transition to fall. Save this recipe for the honey balsamic dijon dressing alone! So yummy!

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My sister, Anna at Non-Baker, and I are celebrating the end of summer with a six course dinner for our immediate family at Iron Clad in Wamego, KS.

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Life gets busy again over the next couple of weeks. Schools will be resuming, and pools will be closing.

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Almost all of the family works in education in some capacity. We have the blues because summer is ending.

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This salad welcomes fall flavors with outstretched arms.

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Thanks to Iron Clad Coworking and Events for allowing us to use this beautiful facility. Keep them in mind for your next event. Or, consider coworking in their facility if you work from home or crave work in a beautiful creative space. They are great to work with!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2 pears
  • 2 large bunches of kale, or one large prewashed bag
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries
  • 1/3 c dried pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 c goat cheese crumbles

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 4 tsp dijon mustard (or 1 tbsp + 1 tsp… I was trying to save you from having to wash two measuring spoons for 1 ingredient.)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash the acorn squash, and pierce the skin with a knife in 10-20 places. Place on a microwave safe dish and cook on high for 10-15 minutes on 5 minute intervals, depending on the microwave. (We just want to soften the squash so that it’s easier to slice.
  2. Once it is softened, cut off the top and slice into rings. Use the knife to remove the seeds and pulp.
  3. Lay out rings onto a greased cookie sheet and bake about 15-20 minutes or until tender. Slice pears and combine other ingredients while squash is baking. Combine all dressing ingredients into a mason jar and shake.
  4. Place squash atop salad and serve.

Read Anna’s post on Monday Inspiration: The Importance of Family Togetherness!

Reflections over Tea

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This is the last post in a week long series titled The Tea Party.  This series was a collaboration between Non-Chef and Non-Baker.  Non-Baker.com is a food blog by my lovely sister, Anna Grace.  Please, visit her site! Her yellow cake is honestly one of my favorite deserts now after this tea party. And she’s one of my favorite people and favorite writers. You won’t be disappointed.

The tea party is over.  The leaf has been taken out of the table, and the standard lace over green tablecloth has been returned to its rightful place. The decorations have been taken down.  The girls are playing the Headbands game on somebody’s phone in the living room.  Anna and I are washing grandma’s delicate tea things in the kitchen.

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White tea plates and clear glass tea cups are carefully stacked in the dishwasher.

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The platters, each with it’s own unique story, are gently washed and put back into their cupboards.

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The one that carried the egg salad sandwiches and the one that bore the custards were my favorite.

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The tea set needs to be completely dry before it is stored.  Who knows the next time it will be used.  When was the last time it was used?  Maybe long before I was born. Not many people are making time for tea parties these days.

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I hold a degree in English literature, and I did not shy away from any of the English major stereotypes. Most of my college studying was essentially me reading a novel very closely over a cup of tea or coffee.  Or gathering with other people who liked to talk about novels and writing over cups of tea or coffee.  Lots of tea and coffee and words.

But, I have never been to a tea party before. Actual tea cups, an actual tea set.  We brewed the tea in the teapot.  We spooned in sugar as desired. An array of delicate sandwiches and lovely desserts. Flowers were everywhere.

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The tea party wasn’t perfect, but it was significant.

There are a few things that I have fond myself reflecting on as I wrote about this event this week.  Firstly, the portion sizes.

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Small cups and small plates meant we collectively indulged on less, but it certainly didn’t feel that way!

We only used one pot of tea.

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I went to the party with two small containers of lemonaid believing we would run out.  It was 100+ degrees outside.  We filled the pitcher twice, but I still went home with one and a half containers of lemonaid.

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For 10 people, we only ate a half a loaf of bread.  That’s not even a full sandwich each.

 

I know we had plenty of leftover dessert, because we enjoyed it again at the next family gathering. At least a half of all the desserts were left.

Yes, we indulged. We partied. But it wasn’t overdone.

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The other thing I realized as I chose pictures: we truly made memories at this tea party.  You can just see it in the girls’ faces. Actually, you can see it in all our faces!  The tea party was surprisingly significant.

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I was busy bustling around, because when I wasn’t preparing some food or taking pictures, I was taking care of the baby.  But when he finally dozed off, and I sat down and just enjoyed myself sans camera, I realized how precious that moment of coming together really was.  I’m glad I sat and just enjoyed for a bit, because that was the best part.

I can’t wait to do it again sometime.

When grandma started talking about moving, one of the first things she started fussing over was the collection of copper kettles.  She finally decided that each of the eleven copper kettles would be matched with the eleven branches that make up our family tree, meaning every family gets a copper kettle.

I don’t think the copper kettles mean nearly as much to any of us as they do to grandma.  Some of my relatives are probably rolling their eyes right now at the thought of the copper kettle that is about to be  shipped to them. I brought mine home with me the other day and wondered what on Earth I would do with it.  I finally plopped it on top of a bookshelf because there was a space there, not really knowing what else to do with it.

But I’ve started looking at that copper teapot a little differently this week as it stands guard over my Norton Anthologies, my Bible, and my other favorite books.

Has anyone ever used it? Should I try and use it?

I caught myself imagining if someday I would take the kettle off the shelf and pull out those tiny white teacups and saucers that grandma gave me as a wedding gift, all mismatched whites like I specifically asked for, and replicate a special tea party with some other important women I love. I have a long list of people I would invite.

It’s not at all about the things or even the place or the table.  It doesn’t have to be perfect looking or tasting.

This tea party is significant because it brought together women, and women-in-training, who have dedicated decades to investing time and love in each other, in me.

There is power in matching words of gratitude with the good in your life.

That’s why I want to speak a bit about these exceptional women and their adorable girls. They just happen to be related to me, and it’s very special. Thank you all for attending a party with me! I am so thankful to be surrounded by the kind of women who make time on a whim for a tea party just because.

Maybe we’ll even let the boys come next time, if they promise to use their manners. 😉

 

PB&J Heart Sandwiches

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This post is the fourth in a five day collaborative series with Non-Baker titled The Tea Party.  Go to Non-Baker to read about the delicious cakes and custard that we enjoyed at our Tea Party and about how to find happiness in the kitchen!

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Yesterday I wrote about kid-approved “Deviled” Egg Salad Sandwiches.

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Today, I am going to write about the other finger sandwich that I contributed to our tea party: peanut butter and jelly hearts.

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Remember, I was aiming for simpleKeep it simple, and bring people together.

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Use a cookie cutter on your bread.  I found if I cut it out just right, I could get three hearts out of a single piece of bread. (Don’t worry, I saved the crusts for a breakfast casserole recipe that I will be posting next week after the series is over!)

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Peanut butter first, and then top with jelly.  Keep it simple, and bring people together.

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I put the jelly in a sandwich bag and clipped the corner to make it go on more easily.  It’s certainly not anything like decorating with frosting, because it’s essentially made out of very stretchy chunks, but it worked well enough.  In other words, I had to squelch my inner control freak and go with the flow. Keep it simple, and bring people together.DSC_0978IMG_0827

It all worked out to be lovely in the end.

Cheers from the farm,

Brohgan

Please go to Non-Baker.com to view additional contributions to the series The Tea Party!

“Deviled” Egg Salad Sandwiches

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This post is a part of a collaborative series with Non-Baker called The Tea Party.  Have you guys checked out Non-Baker yet? It’s great! And I’m not just saying that because Anna is my sister… I’m saying that because everything she bakes is super yummy.

Hey, can you keep a secret?  Lean in so I can whisper it in your ear.

Shhhh, here’s the secret: there’s no difference between “deviled” egg salad and regular egg salad. Don’t tell!

I don’t cook for children very often. My son is only 5 months old, so we haven’t had to worry about him being a picky eater yet. So when I was thinking of little finger foods to make, bruschetta or cucumber sandwiches didn’t seem like they would go over terribly well with my younger tea party guests.

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I mean, I was competing for attention with Anna’s cake, after all…

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So I thought back over the things that tend to disappear first at Grandma’s Sunday dinners. Anything sweet, of course. Cake, ice cream, cookies, all gobbled up quickly. All forms of the potato are always a hit, as well as anything covered in cheese. These kids have good tastes!

  
And deviled eggs. There is never a deviled egg left by the end of dinner.  Normally a couple are suspiciously missing from the plate before dinner even starts. Easter is a very popular holiday!
 I already had a favorite egg salad recipe that is tried and true. When you think about it, egg salad really isn’t all that different from deviled eggs.

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And know what? All those deviled egg salad sandwiches disappeared.

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The youngest girl even took it upon herself to eat the egg salad out of the middle and leave a little pile of bread squares… until mom stepped in. You have to use your best manners at a tea party, of course. 🙂

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Between me and you, can I let you know another little secret? I steamed the eggs so they would peel more easily!

Fifteen or sixteen minutes in the steamer basket over a boil, and my extremely fresh eggs peeled very easily.  I may never truly hard boil an egg again.

I tripped the recipe for the tea party, but ended up having about half left over after arranging the sandwiches.

Ingredients:

  • 3 chilled hard boiled eggs
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise 
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (to make it a deviled egg sandwich)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 pieces of bread

Instructions:

  1. Peel, and dice the eggs. Just a tip! To easily dice, put a wire baking rack over a bowl and push the eggs through the squares. Start toasting bread, if desired.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  3. Smooth egg salad onto slices of bread and serve. 

This post was part of a week long series titled The Tea Party. Please come back or visit Non-Baker for more recipes and tips in this series!

The Tea Party

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There is power in matching words of gratitude with the good in your life.

 

That’s why I want to speak a bit about these exceptional women.  They happen to be related to me, and I am so thankful to be surrounded by them.

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We are turning the page into a new chapter in our family.  I have mentioned before that my grandma is in the middle of preparing to sell the family farm.  We’ve come together over the last several months to tackle the huge job of preparing the property to go on the market.  It has been exciting to see the farm come back to life in preparation for its next chapter, and exceedingly sad, because this place is full of fond memories and radical hospitality.

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It has been a gathering place not only for multiple generations of my family, but also many others.  In fact, most people I know have probably partaken in a Cassel-role dinner at the farm at some point. And if not, join us for Sunday dinner. It’s that kind of place.

As my grandmother, mother, sister and I carefully cataloged each of the collectable or antique items in the house over the summer, we had an idea: a tea party. Girls only. No boys allowed. (Although, we made an exception for the baby.)

How could we resist one more party at grandma’s house.

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My sister Anna, the Non-Baker, and I offered to cater.  We thought it would be a fun photo shoot for our blogs.  Grandma graciously donated her beautiful delicate things.  My cousins and their daughters and a few teddy bears and dollies were invited.  Everyone dressed in their tea party clothes.

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I have to stop and say here that we were severely missing the members of our family who live too far to attend a tea party on short notice!  We wish you could have joined us too!

 

Posts will be published throughout the week containing the tea party recipes.  Please, stay tuned!

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At the beginning of the year, a few friends and I picked a word to focus on for that year.  I picked community.  And on January 5, I printed this page and put it up on my fridge:

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I’ve accomplished a few things on the list: I have gone outside, I have visited my local library, I have given LOTS of hugs, I have bought food at farmer’s markets, I have hosted parties, I have made friends with my neighbors, I have read books with my child, I have supported local artists.  But there are plenty of community building activities I still should do.

 

Being hospitable, for instance.  Building a community also includes my own hospitality.  Just look at #6 on the list.  Nobody, nobody is more hospitable than my grandparents.  I myself have eaten there at least once a week for the majority of my life.  Even when it’s not perfect, the door is always open.

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Hospitality is not about being perfect.  It’s about the coming together.  At the farm, it typically happens over pot-luck dinners and paper plates, but today it happened over tea and flowers.  Let’s celebrate tea parties this week!

-Brohgan

This is one of ten posts in a series called The Tea Party. Please check back this week for additional recipes and tea party tips!

Also, check out Non-Baker for their delectable contribution to the series!