Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mealtime Rhythms

Lately, we have been incorporating some little changes into our daily rhythm to bring more peace to our evening meal. In an effort to bring an end to the "What should we have for dinner?" dilemma, that usually starts just 30 minutes before we should be eating, I am trying to follow a simple meal plan. And I mean very simple. As in, on Tuesdays we have something with beef; usually with enough leftover for Curtis and Noah to have on Wednesday night while I am at work. Some weeks are better than others, but I am hopeful that if we stick with it we will greatly reduce the number of last minute dinner decisions and (gasp!) fast-food runs.

For some time now, we have been lighting a lovely smelling beeswax candle at the start of our meal. It is such a simple gesture, but really creates a special atmosphere in which to share a meal together. In addition to lighting our candle, we have started saying a new blessing before our meal. In searching for a blessing for our family, I wanted one that would acknowledge our thankfulness not only for our meal, but also for the world around us. I also wanted it to be simple and easily memorized by our little one. After choosing a blessing, I wrote it on a card to remind us to say it every night.

Thank you for the world so sweet.

Thank you for the food we eat.

Thank you for the birds that sing.

Thank you God for everything.

As Curtis and I started taking turns saying the lines, he discovered another feature of this blessing that I had not originally thought of. It offers a lot of flexibility in adding your own little rhyming verse. At first, his straying from the written blessing resulted in some irked looks from my side of the table. For example, the other day as we were saying the blessing, he added "Thank you for the rhinoceroses that charge" to which I was supposed to respond with a rhyming line, but instead looked at him with raised eyebrows. Finally, he explained that we couldn't just single out the birds when there are so many other animals to be thankful for! He then added, "Thank you for the world at large." So although one of the reasons for having a blessing is to bring a familiar routine to the beginning of to meal, I guess there is nothing wrong with having a bit of fun with it. After all, sharing and having fun together are what family meals are all about, right? I can't wait to hear what Noah is thankful for, once his jabber-talk becomes more comprehensible!

On evenings when we are running behind and rushing to get dinner on the table, we sometimes skip the lighting of the candle and saying the blessing. However, I have noticed that on those hectic nights, when the meal is over, I feel as though I never even tasted my food. I have realized that it is on those nights especially that it is important to take a minute to pause, say our blessing, and bring ourselves to the moment, so that we may slow down and enjoy our meal together. Like most of our daily routines, this one is still a work in progress, but one that I think will really pay off the more solidified it gets.



  1. I am positively cracking up here - tell your husband that he is one funny guy! We're working on our rhythms here too. I think they really help.

  2. we're really working on our meal time rhythms at the moment. We light a candle but we don't say at blessing at our evening family meal...but we do at breakfast. We starting to have a vegetarian roast dinner meal once a week (usually sunday) pasta night, pizza night, grain night, soup night, one night open for whatever is in the cupboard (!) and mums night off (children have sandwiches), and me and DH have....take away? or vegie burgers out of a box...somthing not cooked from scratch basically!