Recently, here at the table, Elizabeth wrote this lovely post on spontaneous hospitality. How often hospitality isn’t about a beautiful table and a fabulous menu. It is about our time. Giving of ourselves in ways we might not realize are “hospitable.”
My mother died in March and as co-executor of the estate, I’ve spent several weeks at her house…emptying, sorting, throwing out or giving away 90+ years of accumulation. And the most treasured things I found were not things of financial value.
They were pictures and letters penned to my parents from others. Or notes my mom left for my dad and vice versa. It was the telegram dated April 1945 letting my dad, stationed in Germany, know that his firstborn had arrived. (The first of what would eventually be 7 kids, spanning 18 years. I am number 6.)
All of the letters, notes, cards and the telegram reminded me of a different era. An era when one sat down with a pen and a pad and wrote a note. Or sent a card or penned a letter. Put it in an envelope, licked it, sealed it shut and put a stamp on the right corner.
We live in a fast-paced, get-it-done-sooner-rather-than-later world. We email and text. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram our way through the day. And in some cases, we don’t even stop to have a conversation. Or say thank you, as Elizabeth mentioned in her post.
I keep a large assortment of DaySpring cards on hand and I love to drop one in the mail with a handwritten note to a friend, family member and occasionally an acquaintance if I have their address. Often, I will get a phone call, Voxer message or text letting me know that the card arrived at just the right time, with just what the receiver needed to hear/read that day. It isn’t me…it is the work of the Holy Spirit even in the midst of letter writing.
The hospitality of writing a note and sending a card is not a common practice, but maybe it should be. Maybe we should start a revolution of card and letter writing, written in long hand with our favorite ink pen. (This is mine & yes, in purple!) Sending encouragement, sharing a thought or scripture or just saying “hello, I wanted you to know I am thinking of you today.”
All that stuff that I discovered in boxes and closets, in the attic and under the beds…they were real treasures of a bygone era. Treasures that leaves me yearning, not only to hear my mother’s voice just one more time, but also to return to a time when there WAS time. When we took a minute to write a note or make a phone call. When we stopped to chat with our neighbor instead of keeping our head down and finishing our walk. Yes, I am guilty of that!
While I can’t physically return to a slower era, I can learn to slow down and make myself take the time to write a note. To drop a card in the mail.
If I take the time to send a card, how might I change someone’s day and in the process change my own outlook?
One of our GraceTable writers, Shelly Miller, has a new book coming out in October. Rhythms of Rest Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World. Helping us learn to find time in our busy world so that we can be rested, refreshed and ready to do His will.
One of the favorite treasures I inherited was my mom’s recipe box. In it is a recipe for a Chocolate Chip Pound Cake. The recipe is hand written and stained. It is my son’s favorite cake & he is got married August 6th. This cake was one of the desserts at the rehearsal dinner. And when the cake was served, it was with love. And at the dinner, surrounded by family and friend, I was thinking of my mom.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups flour
- 1 (12 oz.) bag chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine dry ingredients and set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs and beat well.
- Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix well.
- Stir in chocolate chips and pour into greased bundt pan.
- Bake 35-45 minutes until toothpick inserted halfway between center and edge of pan has a few moist crumbs.
- Cool for 5-10 minutes, invert and remove from pan. Cool completely and serve with whipped cream or whipped topping.
- You will learn how this cakes bakes in your oven with a few tries. My oven usually bakes the cake 38-42 minutes. Overbaking will yield a dry cake. You can tell by looking at the top of the cake if it is too moist to even check for doneness. Once you get this cake just right, it might just become a family favorite!