Friday, October 28, 2016

What makes me who I am, Five Generations

Me with my first two children while expecting my third with, my mother, great grandmother and grandmother in 1993.
I was sitting this morning before the first session of General Conference looking at a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook published in 1946 that belonged to my great-grandmother. As I leafed through her newspaper clippings that were carefully tucked into the book from the food section of the newspaper I felt great satisfaction. My hands touched pages that she touched. Pages that she turned and clippings that she had read and saved. The hearts of the children turn to the Fathers.

I feel so blessed to have known my great-grandmother.
Her cookbook features meals made from inexpensive ingredients with creativity in a time when families actually sat around the table at a set time at the end of the day. A time when activities wound down for dinner time. A time when everyone else was going home to be with the family. A time when fast food was not a planned part of the budget.

My great-grandmother has been gone for 10 years now. But, I have the blessing of having living Grandparents. My Grandmother is in her early 80s and my grandfather is in his early 90s.

If I happen to call my grandparents during a meal time they will ask to call me back. Myself and others in the family have wrinkled noses at times and chuckled because of this difference. But, when approaching this goal of spending quality time together as a family around the table we can benefit from the methods of earlier generations.

I would guess that my great-great grandmother firmly told my great-grandfather to be home on time for supper. And I'll bet the children feared the other siblings would not leave any leftovers if they were to be late. In some cases it was likely easier to break free from activities and come home since others would likely be going home too.

We have seen times of plenty where over scheduling through the dinner hour could be overcome by a stop at the local fast food place. But, the trip through the fast food line does not replace the family time around the table. And, I dare say that some have felt the pinch in these unsteady economic times and might actually attempt cooking at home. Even if dinner is not totally from scratch.
There have been so many advances that we are tempted to cram too much into our busy days. These advances are not bad. But, living in such a hurry does not enrich our lives. Even the bread section of my great-grandmother's 1946 cookbook speaks of the homemaker buying bread rather than making it. My great-grandmother was born just after 1900. She watched the ushering in of this age as did my grandmother and mother after her. Much good has come. But as I live each day I am acutely aware of the time crunch that I find myself in.

I want so much to do better. I want to continue to work at slowing down. Much of the time we eat on the run, each individual heating something up as they are hungry instead of stopping for all present to eat family meals. As family members run here and run there. My goal is to increase how many times we sit around our family table this week all together. I am not going to psych myself into believing we will have a Ward and June Cleaver moment at the table as Wally and the Beave tell about their day at school. I am not aiming for the ethereal, though ethereal and peaceful would be nice.

My desire is to add drops of love to my children's cups. Moments of family belonging and unity. Even as one small child pokes another small child or there is a dispute about who gets to read the new book in the house first. Life is going to happen. But, I want to do better at not letting the days slip by without doing my best to keep my family bonded together through family meal times, prayer and scripture reading.

I long for a simpler life in spite of the hurry of over taxed days and resources.

I just hope to do a little bit better at keeping my family close. I look back at this journey that I am taking in awe it seems like yesterday I was a young bride. Before that I was a child in my mother's kitchen.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your good and helpful insights. Your family is fortunate to have such a good Mom.

  2. I love the pictures and your thoughts! I didn't grow up eating at a table, all together very often at all and have made that a goal with my own family. My youngest right now complains and thinks it's silly because "all we do is eat". She may not remember the times we have laughed and laughed at something simple or told stories, but I hope they have bonded us anyway.