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The Lifegiving Table: Nurturing Faith through Feasting, One Meal at a Time Paperback – October 3, 2017
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From the Publisher
From the Back Cover
Make your table a delightful, lifegiving space where your family and friends long to be―where they will find rest, renewal, inspiration, and a loving welcome.
When Sally Clarkson sets a table in her home, it’s more than just a place and a time to eat and run. It’s an opportunity to gather as family and friends to connect and commune, to open children’s hearts to lively discussions that will feed their faith, and to enjoy the beauty and bounty of God’s creation.
In The Lifegiving Table, bestselling author Sally Clarkson shares her family stories of table talk and faith-shaped conversations, as well as her favorite recipes and practical ideas, all drawn from over thirty years of parenting and ministry. You’ll discover why the table is a place of belonging and anticipation where we break bread together to receive both food and faith for our lives, and where we open our hearts to savor the love of God. You’ll also find a feast of ways to grow in faith and draw closer to the people you love around the table you set in your home.
From the flap (HC edition):
Days before converging on our home for a family gathering this summer, both of our sons called me.
“Mama, I can hardly wait to get there.”
“What is your favorite expectation about coming home?” I asked each of them.
Both boys answered with almost the same words, even though they were now separated by two thousand miles! “It is the feasting every night around the table with delicious home-cooked food, being each other’s best friends, talking about every possible subject and sharing in each other’s lives . . . that is my favorite part. I need my people. I want a place to belong.”
It’s no accident that they feel this way. Creating a lifegiving table in their home was a priority for Sally and Clay Clarkson from the very beginning, and they put effort and intention into making it happen.
In The Lifegiving Table, join Sally as she shares the lessons she and her family cultivated carefully through years of sitting down together; cooking, baking, and preparing meals; and practicing the disciplines of teaching manners and fostering conversation.
You’ll discover the legacy of creating a lifegiving table in your own home, as you knit your hearts together to form tight bonds that will not easily be broken.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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Sally Clarkson has a way with making you feel that you are capable of having a Lifegiving Table. She knows that every home looks different than hers, but she is able to give practical hints on how to make the dinner table a place that breathes life into all who sit around it. She gives a glimpse of her own mealtimes, and then gives other ideas on how that might look around your own table.
The best part is that you know you can do it. It takes effort and thought, yes, but it is not out of reach. And any table, no matter how chipped or worn, or even not a table at all! can be one that gives life into those who gather around. Conversations start and hearts are formed for God in the every day moments around the dinner table. I have already noticed a difference in the way we commune at the table, and it has been nice (I've only been trying some ideas in the book for a few days now).
There are even some recipes that are simple, and yet delicious. I've tried out a few already.
Sally Clarkson's lovely book gives you that same feeling, a longing to have a table-life like she and her family do. The subtitle of the book is, "Nurturing faith through feasting, one meal at a time."
Throughout the book, the author describes how she has utilized mealtimes (and snack/tea times) as opportunities for sharing her life, wisdom, and faith with others. She shares abundantly with her family and children as well as with others she comes into contact with.
One of the purposes of this book is to encourage the readers to use meals/mealtimes as opportunities for service. Serving others through offering food, conversation, encouragement, and more. There are practical tips for how to make a welcoming space and a welcoming attitude. There are illustrations of how meals have been used in different settings. Family traditions are explained. Ways of encouraging others are laid out. Delicious-sounding recipes are included!
I enjoyed this book, in a "wishing that were my case" way. I'm not sure if I can quite explain how I felt reading it, it was kind of a fairy tale of a book for me. I don't mean to say that I thought it wasn't true, no, not at all...I know that people DO live like that. I applaud her service and sharing her life and the Gospel through her hospitality. It is just hard for me to imagine how I could live up to this ideal. One thing is that I think it helps if both husband and wife want to serve in this way. Otherwise, it is . . .difficult. I also felt like we maybe don't measure up to her standards. I do know that I can serve through meals, but my meals and setting would be different. My days are filled with homeschooling, loving, and growing my three teenagers into Christ-following, God-fearing, kind, responsible adults. I think maybe we (my family) just aren't up to her economic level, but truthfully that doesn't matter so much. We do what we are called to do, we live as we are called to live. As I read this, I needed the reminder from Scripture, " Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have..." Hebrews 13:5a (KJV) But I think that her portrayal is beautiful, and brings out a longing in me. Even though I wouldn't do things exactly the same way, I can be inspired by her life and live for Christ through mine.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
It is too upper middle class.
I think our society, at least the part that is portrayed in most media outlets, is too upper middle class.
Of course, I probably think this because I am NOT upper middle-class. Hubby and I have made some choices in our life (leaving his "steady income" job due to theological principles, me staying home to homeschool our children, having a large family as opposed to a smaller one, etc...) that have designated us as much more "lower" income than even the average "middle-class."
Most days I am ok with this. But not always.
When I watch an episode of some home improvement/design show and my house does not even begin to look like that...
Not a good day for acceptance of the place where I am at.
When I see my children, three of the four grown to adulthood, still enjoying to come home and be with hubby and I and each other...
That's a good day for acceptance of the place where I am at.
I really think the author of The Life-Giving Table has a heart for families and wanted to challenge others to invest time together...intentional time together around the table, feasting on food and each other and especially the LORD. However, I just couldn't get past the "upper middle classness" (sorry, I just can't find a better word to describe it) in order to actually enjoy the book.
And I hated that because I was looking forward to reading it.
I DO support the topic completely. But to be honest, I got bored with the book in places simply because it wasn't anything "new" for me since Hubby and I have tried to incorporate these ideas for many, many years now. But it was more than that.
I just kept imagining myself at a younger age, when my kiddos were small and we were self-supporting missionaries. If I had been reading this book as a newbie to the idea at that stage of my life, I would have cried.
Cried that I couldn't fulfill the topic the way her word pictures were drawing it in my mind.
Lack of money. Plain and simple.
As I read the book, the feeling that things had to be so "upper middle classish" just kept coming through.
I am sure the author did not mean this. In fact, there were moments she tried to stress the fact that it did not have to be a certain way. However, it just didn't feel that way as a reader.
Sorry, but that is just how I felt.
So, although I really like the topic, and the author was very sincere in her portrayal, I just can't give it above 3 stars.
I did receive a free copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers as a part of their blogger program.