I believe in the dining room table

This is a post I wrote almost a year ago now about our dining room table, a piece of furniture well-used. It is now situated in a new space at our new place, which feels just right. I have hosted a couple dinners now, just this week the birthday party of one of my best friends, who used the table as a platform for her fantastic sense of humour and stellar story-telling skills. I believe in the dining room table.

Dinner Party with Friends

Based on a True Story

I’m writing this in our dining room at a table, a holy gift.

We purchased this table thanks to the generosity of our Barrie Free Methodist Church family. On our last Sunday there, before we were to head to Toronto, they gave us notes of encouragement and gifts of money as a send-off. We were overwhelmed by this show of love–I wept for three days straight after reading the cards and still get teary when I think of it. We knew instantly that we would use the money for an item that would extend the legacy our church had offered to us over the years – one of love, hospitality, and a sense of home.

This table, upon purchase, was instantly put to good use. Right away, it showed signs of wear and tear as we welcomed guests into our new space and to the table. I always suggest we meet here instead of going out for coffee or tea. Already this table is the…

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The power of a hug

A Facebook status repost from last week in honour of National Hugging Day

High stress in the Cockram family tonight. Girls have big projects due yesterday and I’m revamping my talk for Saturday for the 50th time. And here we are when everything is due, between the three of us, we can’t understand the instructions, can’t find a stapler, the printer ink runs out, we’re in each other’s way, the hands on the clock move faster, the phones are ringing and beeping, and no one has the emotional resources to help each other.

Between us we’re quivery chinned or frantic in the eyes and all feeling slightly car sick. I stopped speaking in full sentences a long time ago because, do I have to?

Then Fifi walks by and accidentally gives me a hug, because hugging is a habit to her. She didn’t mean to, though, and pulls away to return to her stress. But that tiny act of reaching out is contagious and she comes back when I call her and we promise to get it together.

Hugs, so cute and so powerful, one of the biggest reminders of what’s important and one of the best ways to say “you’re important.”

Where’s J-M in the midst of all this? Out getting printer ink of course and it’s taking him a really, really long time. He’s a smart man to know just when to leave. But he’s missing out on these hugs. Now look at me, I’m smiling and getting my kids ice water and giving them kisses on the forehead.

I’m going to talk about hugs on Saturday instead of beauty maybe. Everything is going to be just fine.

Feeling Newsy

When I missed the Canada Post deadline to send out Christmas cards for the sixth year in a row, I decided to call it a passive boycott to make it seem less lazy. I had no reason not to send them other than something had to go to preserve my sanity in this overly busy season and that was the first on the list, followed closely by anything resembling a craft, and door-to-door caroling. (Gift-wrapping was in the running.)

If it’s been years in a row that you don’t do a thing, at what point does one scratch it off one’s list permanently? Christmas is so weird like that. It’s a hopeful, overly nostalgic season, and so I retain hope. (If I send you a card next year, please frame it.)

But I sure did love receiving the cards and newsletters from friends. Now newsletters are vintage, aren’t they? Those who send them are preserving a bit of our past that we’re often so quick to dismiss – good, old-fashioned communication. A piece of paper to grab onto with whole sentences put together to form paragraphs. Those paragraphs give us an overview of the lives of our friends – many parts of which we may have witnessed or experienced with them and it gives context and a sense of continuum. We humans are in the process of building, moving forward, journeying, progressing. Sometimes our understanding is so present- and future-tense. Looking back, even at the not-too-distant past can have the effect of grounding us.

This is why I thought I’d try my hand at an e-newsletter. There’s no fancy or festive border here, no stamp on the envelope, no searching for your address, nothing but a synopsis of the Cockrams’ 2014. Here are the headlines.

Man turns 40, throws vanity concert, 150 friends indulge him

“You only turn 40 once,” he says

Continue reading

I believe in the dining room table

I’m writing this in our dining room at a table, a holy gift.

We purchased this table thanks to the generosity of our Barrie Free Methodist Church family. On our last Sunday there, before we were to head to Toronto, they gave us notes of encouragement and gifts of money as a send-off. We were overwhelmed by this show of love–I wept for three days straight after reading the cards and still get teary when I think of it. We knew instantly that we would use the money for an item that would extend the legacy our church had offered to us over the years – one of love, hospitality, and a sense of home.

This table, upon purchase, was instantly put to good use. Right away, it showed signs of wear and tear as we welcomed guests into our new space and to the table. I always suggest we meet here instead of going out for coffee or tea. Already this table is the hub of stories and laughter with our friends, new and old. Continue reading

Going Old-School, Heirloom Spaghetti Sauce

My friend Christa said she would be thrilled to teach me a recipe and how about the whole family come over on a Sunday afternoon!  The girls can cook while the boys watch football.  Which is like blowing off the dust on the sexology file,  How Men and Women Should Spend their Sundays.   Hey, why not?  This could be *retro fun!

For those of you who know Christa, you probably think of her as a gentle soul, calm and patient, the perfect temperament for teaching a novice to cook.  As I’ve gotten to know Christa, however, what others might mistake for a shy demeanor is actually really, really good listening skills.  I was looking forward to being in her company and listening to her this time.  This Sunday, the roles would be reversed in more ways than one! Continue reading