Around the Table {Giveaway}

UPDATE: Rachel, comment #311, has randomly been selected as the winner of this giveaway.

I get a lot of emails from moms asking what to read around the table.  Our old chalkboard table in our new kitchen:

Here’s a great place to start with all ages:

  1. The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name (all ages)
  2. Window On The World (missions focus)
  3. My Life, His Mission: A Six Week Challenge to Change the World (what we are reading now)
  4. Truth and Dare: One Year of Dynamic Devotions for Girls (ages 9-12) and Triple Dog Dare: One Year of Dynamic Devotions for Boys (ages 9-12)—–winner’s choice

I want to encourage you to bring dinner (and family time) back to the table! Just last night, we had such a special moment reading together. At the end of our not-so-perfect devotion time, my husband prayed out loud, “God, I want to follow you wherever you lead me and I want to commit myself to you again in front of my kids.”

And then each of my kids, from the youngest to the oldest, prayed the same thing. When it was my turn, I was all blurry-eyed and I just wanted to bottle the moment up! Most of our dinners aren’t like this, but we are beginning to see fruit from making this time together a priority [stepping off soapbox now].

Today, I’m giving away this gorgeous Blessings Unlimited Lazy Susan (value $94) to one lucky reader, plus any one book choice from my massive recommended family reading list.

Tell me what you love/hate/struggle/succeed with around the table and you’ll be entered to win! (And if you read someone’s comment and you have a helpful suggestion, please add it!)

Giveaway ends on Thursday.


Comments

  1. Amy says

    Our biggest challenge is to keep our boys (2 and 3) in chairs long enough to eat :) But they are starting to pick up on discussing our day and the give-and-take of conversation. We usually do a family prayer/devotion time before bed. Maybe we should move it up…

  2. Mary Moses says

    I have a hard time getting hubby to be home on time or to interact with me and the kids. The kids and I always have a sit down dinner but hubby always stops and visits soemone or something before coming home. And when he is able to eat with us he just sits there, eats and then watches about an hour of tv then goes to bed. I don’t know how to get him involved. He also stopped going to church with us. The really sad part is he’s a minister, pastored for 15 years, but since leaving his last church he just seems to have lost all interest and its starting to effect the kids. Everyones prayers are most welcome and any advice.

    • Christine says

      I will be praying for your family! I know from experience that being in the ministry can be very hard. It took both my husband and I a few years to deal with “things” after he resigned from a church. There is hope because of Jesus. My advice is pray for him and show lots of love to him. May God bless your family.

    • says

      I’ll be praying for you, Mary. My husband is also a pastor and when he left his previous church position he worked some non ministry jobs for a while and he just wasn’t fulfilled.

      I agree with Christine that the best thing you can do for him is pray for him and love him and show him unconditional respect. You might try reading the book “Love and Respect” by Emmerson Eggerich.

      There are a lot of pastors who have been wounded. It would be great if you could find a pastor and wife who would be open to being real with you guys and walking this journey with you.

      Feel free to email me, I have more about our journey that I can share in a less public place.

  3. says

    I struggle to get everyone to stay at the table until everyone is done! I love when we are all there talking and sharing, not rushing off.

  4. Deb K. says

    Im raising my autistic grandson as a single parent. He takes any and all teaching at face value so teaching him about God is rather challenging. I am thankful, though, that he can share his thoughts and questions. Just wish I had answers for them all! :)

  5. says

    One thing I feel we are succeeding at is that we always eat dinner together. In an age where everyone has their own schedules (and my husband and I work opposite shifts) it is really important for us to devote this time to our family.

  6. Lorrie says

    I love reading your ideas for meal time devotions! We attempt devotions, usually at breakfast, but we struggle with keeping the attention of our smallest children. Discussion comes easy with the older kids but can feel chaotic when my 4 and 1 year-olds are silly or loud.

  7. Mrs. Rachel says

    I love sitting with my family at the table and especially watching my boys learn to interact and talk with us. My biggest struggle is getting my older boy to focus long enough to actually eat the food, especially when it’s not his favorite.

  8. Michelle says

    Thanks so much for your encouraging ideas. Our greatest struggle at dinner time is our 5-year old daughter not taking an hour plus to eat a small plate of food. She does fine at breakfast and lunch, but if we don’t set a timer for her to eat her dinner, it takes her so long to finish.

  9. Cindy Kelley says

    Just a note of encouragement for young mothers to say that all the effort you put into getting your family to sit down at the dinner table together is worth it. My three grown children have all told me that some of their favorite memories growing up was dinner time. Sometimes it took an hour or more for us to sit there and share our day and my husband and I learned so much about our kids during that time. Now, my two daughters who are married are making it a priority to have ‘family dinner’ time with their young children.

  10. Sandi says

    Our biggest struggle as a family is getting Daddy to the table. His work schedule makes family mealtime difficult most days. Throw in the fact that my boys are 4yo and 18mths, and you have several hurdles to jump over. I’m looking forward to giving this a try, though! :)

  11. Danielle G. says

    I love it when my husband and I eat together at the table. However, this does not happen often. Recently we moved into our first house, and it was easy to sit at the table for supper (we didn’t have the t.v. set up). About a month ago, we fell back into old habits and are eating in front of the t.v. on dinner trays.

    When we eat at the table together, I feel we’re more connected and the line of communication is more open. We struggle with just eating at the table- especially on nights I get off work late.

  12. Joy says

    I”d love to have a family to gather around the table. I’m believing God has a family for me very soon! Since I don’t yet, I guess I actually struggle with sitting at the table for any length of time.

  13. Lacey Miller says

    The hardest thing we have is getting our kids quite enought to talk. Our son always has something to say all of the time. Then our daughter likes to argue or disagree with them. I love to be able to sit down with my kids for every meal we just wish there dad my husband could be home with us. He is an over the road truck driver. He has to be gone alot since I am disabled. I struggle with our son and his ADHD. When we sit down we pray and sometime it is just god is great, then I try get them to say something that they are thankful. I really want to do a devotion with them but I don’t know how to do it or where to start.

  14. says

    My kids are 3 and 2–so my least favorite thing about meal time is the fact that they rarely eat what I’ve made. My favorite part about meal time is when they recite in unison, “Thank You, Jesus, for our food. Amen!” (And we snicker every single night when we hear them say “foop.” That never gets old.)

  15. Michelle says

    Our 3 yr old daughter loves it when Daddy reads from our devotional that we keep on the dining room table. After our prayer before we eat, she always reminds him, “Daddy, the book!” It is a precious reminder for us and the devotional time is great for our family of 5. We also have two boys, ages 6 and 9 and we have been able to have some great talks with them through these times at the table.

  16. Sasha Seward says

    I love hearing my 2 year old son repeat my husbands prayer before dinner. I hate when we have to fight with him to eat (toddlers)! I struggle with slowing down to enjoy my own mealtime. I succeed in creating meals for my family to enjoy almost every night of the week ( I love cooking!).

  17. Jenny McDonald says

    I love meal time with the family. We do this every day at dinner and sometimes at lunch. During prayers we thank God for what we have, and we let the kids add their prayers of thanks as well (which are always different from ours). :) Our biggest challenge is keeping things lively. Often, we are all so tired by dinner time that it is tough to make it quality time rather than eating and jumping up to get some other chore done or just eating and staring off into space.

  18. says

    My biggest struggle is wiping away the distractions of my to-do list from my brain and being fully present. My girls are at a challenging toddler stage and mealtime isn’t too pleasant right now, but I know it will get better! :)

  19. Jessica says

    I really struggle just getting my family to the table. My husband and I have always sat in front of the Tv for dinner and made the kids sit at the table and now that I am trying to change this horrible habit, it is hard.

  20. Christine says

    Dinner time has always been a special time for me. I love to hear about everyone’s day. Now that our older three have jobs there are not many days when the whole family is at the table together. We still have two younger girls though and I would like to implement more discussions again like I did when our first 3 were younger. Right now our biggest struggle is with our girls fussing about food they don’t like.

  21. says

    My biggest problem with meal time is getting my kids to stay at the table until they are completely done, and from reading the posts on here I am not the only one. Thanks for the giveaway.

  22. says

    Eating dinner together has always been a priority to me, doing family time together after we eat is something I have always wanted to do, but we have not been intentional about it. Recently got Window on the World, now we need to use it! Would love to win!!

  23. says

    We do best/worst during dinner time where the kids share the best and worst parts of their day. The “worst” may not have come up otherwise. I’d say our biggest challenge is sports season. With 5, we limit activities but some weeks dinner happens at 3:45 or 9pm. Those are tough.

  24. says

    My kids are 6 and 2 and we spend most of the “eating” time helping the little one eat, getting the big one to eat and just generally keeping everyone at the table happy. I would love to have a devotion/share time but we’re just not there yet and I’ve had to remind myself that’s okay. We’ll get there. We’re eating together most days of the week and I’ll take that for now!

  25. says

    We’ve always made eathing meal together a priority. Our new struggle is that my older children are teens and have activities or work when we would normally eat dinner. So our dinner time fluctuates between 5:30 (on Tuesday) to 8:30 (every other Monday). My younger children will have an early evening snack when we eat late to hold them over to dinner time. It’s different but it’s working for us so far. Dinner time is such a great time to debrief and find out how everyone’s day has gone.

  26. Julie R says

    I love that my family sits down together each night, but I hate that my older son is always in such a hurry to finish and get up. My husband and I get a lot accomplished around the table, because it is the only time we really have to talk.

  27. says

    What I truly LOVE about gathering around the table is the conversations. The highs and the lows! Just listening and watching the family interact with each other. We take turns sharing what we liked and didn’t like about our days. Hence the high and the low!

  28. says

    During our blessing for the meal, I offer thanks for anything that the Spirit puts in my head … for getting through a difficult business deal (husband), to having a fun time with friends or using great manners between siblings (not always the norm … SURPRISE!). This, I think, lets everyone know someone is paying attention, and it makes them pay a little more attention to the details of each other.

    God works in mysterious ways, but sometimes, to me, they’re completely obvious. When the Spirit uses us to paint the picture of what we see, He uses that painting to illustrate for those around us what life can and should be.

    AMEN!

  29. Cindy says

    Although my children are now in college and raising families of their own, not too long ago around the dinner table our focus was not following theie peers but our beliefs. Peer pressure is so hard in high school but with the Lord’s grace we were able to make it through. What a beautiful Lazy Susan.

  30. Anne says

    Our biggest challenge at the dinner table is wiggly and sometimes (ok, a lot of times) whining little ones. I have a dream of one day having dinner time being a wonderful time connecting and talking as a family, but until then, I guess I need to just enjoy these wiggly, loud moments while they last. :)

  31. april says

    Our biggest challenge is dinner with everyone. We usually sit at the table together and eat but my husband works out of town and comes home every couple of weeks. So table time is very special to us. We have 5 kids and 2 in high school so sports is an issue to. I wish we did have family devotionals. Maybe this is the year for us:)

  32. says

    i struggle with many things at mealtime: I am a single mom of 4 young children. my oldest 2 have ADHD, and can barely sit down. the younger 2 are still very young–and struggle to sit down. Then, there’s the “food issue.” I’ve never been a good cook, or a good meal planner, so i sometimes struggle to even have something decent prepared. and money issues play a role too. the idea of “meaningful discussion” at the table is almost foreign. but i long to develop the idea. it’s lonely being a single mom, and very difficult to “lead the charge” towards godliness. usually, i just hope i keep my head above water. but without a goal to work on, we won’t get anywhere.

  33. Leslee says

    As our kids became teenagers we were really successful at making sure we ate dinner at the table together at least 5 nights a week. Those are some of the best times for us and I think families that eat together are more successful. Those are memories that we will always have and I urge everyone to at least start with having meals together and get that habit going. The hard part for us is our son entered the Marine Corps and is in boot camp right now. I am missing him at the dinner table most of all. Pray for us as a family and for him to have the endurance, perseverance and strength he needs to get through training. He is missing us pretty bad right now too!

  34. Melissa says

    I’m not sure what I succeed with, but I sure don’t succeed with getting information out of my kids about what they did that day!

  35. Karen says

    My greatest struggle with dinner time is stirring up a desire in me to cook for my family! I don’t enjoy cooking, but I know my family NEEDS me to enjoy it!

    • Karen says

      Do you use a crock pot? That makes dinner SO much easier and you can fix food earlier in the day rather than waiting until your energy is zapped!

  36. Estella says

    We are trying to make meal time a priority again. It has been sliding away with the busyness of everyone. It is nice to sit and talk with everyone about their day.

  37. Jendra says

    Our kids are 6, 5, 2 & 8 months. We struggle with getting everyone to start at the same time, eat with manners & remain seated until excused! My husband and I were feeling more like wait staff than part of the family and started getting frustrated with the chaos. So, now we take care of the kids during mealtime then sit down together for adult dinner time once the kids are in bed. It’s a little late, but I truly love this time together just me and him!

  38. Hannah says

    It’s a struggle for us to even sit down at the table! It’s always been a pile of mail and baby things. We’re trying to change that before our 2-month-old is old enough to use a high chair, but it’s so much easier to just eat on the couch. Nothing good comes without effort though, and I think it’s worth it.

  39. Wendi says

    I love that we have family dinners practically every night. Unfortunately many of the kids in our neighborhood do not have that joy and enjoy eating dinner at our house so that they can experience family eating together around the dinner table. That is such a sad statistic. I would like to add family devotions or reading after dinner while we are still at the table. We need to get out of the habit of watching tv while we eat and commit that time to more discussion time, instead of talking while watching tv.

  40. Courtney says

    Honestly – it’s me. Growing up we rarely had family dinners. With my parents’ schedules we just ate individually. To this day I have a hard time staying at the table and not wanting to get up as soon as we’re done. We DO eat together, at the table, regularly. But it’s almost always a struggle for me.

  41. Robin C says

    My children are still quite small (20mo and 2 mo) so it’s me and my husband, one daughter in a high chair, one in a bouncy seat (typically ON the table.) But our table is roughly the same size as yours. So we have all this extra space that becomes work space, then eventually storage space. It’s hard to enjoy dinners around the table when there are games, political flyers, bills, etc. all over the place (though we do clean off at least enough space to serve dinner.)

  42. Elena says

    The hardest thing for me when we are at the table is getting my three year old to sit down while eating and getting my husband involved. I have to admit that he’s not hands on and doesnt participate when we go to church but I want to make sure that I’m giving my daughter the right example. I do love the fact that we have dinner in our home and together.

  43. says

    I think what we struggle with the most is saying grace before we eat. My husband is a new Christian and I think he’s a bit nervous about leading us. I think its finding the right words to say that we struggle with. Does that make sense? I hear other peoples prayers and the words just flow out of their mouths so easily & beautifully.

  44. Katie K. says

    With a 2 year old and a nine month old, I look forward to the days of having family devotions around the table. Now I’m just focusing on getting everyone fed and then the baby off to bed! But we always sit down to dinner together, which I’m thankful for and know is a great start.

  45. celeste says

    We do devotions right after dinner in the family room as we usually use some worship videos first. Around the table we have a conversation jar and the littler ones love to pick a subject-just an old pickle jar with some slips of paper but it’s fun to hear the different responses. It is hard with lots of ages and nights when someone has an activity.

  46. says

    I love the conversation that takes place. My four kids are young (6, 4, 2, and infant)….so it is always fun to hear what comes out of their mouths! The biggest struggle I have is getting them to eat their food (my oldest especially) and trying to decide if it’s a battle worth fighting.
    I have a Table Topics game that they are just now getting old enough to enjoy!! That’s great, too!

  47. Lisa says

    It’s rare that we all get to sit together. My husband comes home much later than the kids can wait to eat. We usually
    do devotionals right before bedtime, but I would love to do something at dinner even if it is just me and the kids. The kids
    are getting older now (7 and 9) and I think they can handle more than a short devotional before bed.

  48. says

    My favorite thing about our family dinner time is writing in our thankful book. Even the 3 year old reminds me now! The Biggest struggle we have is getting everyone to stay at the table until everyone is done….the 13 year old rushes off as soon as he’s done I’d love to try a devotional time at the table, have had a hard time finding something that will appeal to our wide age range.

  49. Melissa Kuhlman says

    I think the hardest part about dinnertime now that we are empty nesters is figuring out what to eat and not to overeat because we are still cooking for 4.

  50. Elise says

    I’m glad we get to the table as a family on a regular basis and I do try to keep the meals reasonably healthy, but I wish it felt more like there was meaningful interaction happening. My kids are 3 and 18 months. Maybe I’m asking for too much?

  51. Lesley says

    We have young children so we do try devotions around the table but it usually ends with frustration because the time doesn’t look like I think it should. We will keep trying though! We have the Jesus Storybook Bible and it is amazing!

  52. Morgan says

    We have a one year old and a three year old, so most of our time is spent helping them eat. But we do enjoy talking about our day and upcoming fun events/trips.

  53. says

    I hate to say it, but our biggest challenge is GETTING around the table together! We have an 11 month old and we both work full time. Coupled with the fact that she goes down to bed by 6:30 at the latest, we don’t often have family meal time. We sit down together (as often on the couch as at the table!) for dinner and to catch up after our baby goes down, so that’s our “family meal time” for now.

  54. Melisa says

    Dinner together as a family used to be an every night thing. BUT this summer we have been finishing a house that we started building a year ago.We have 16 days to move out of our present home, my son has a sever breathing reaction to the mold in this house and has been sleeping other places almost every night for the past few days and will continue to until we move, my husband his working late to provide and finish the new house, I am overwhelmed by the packing, and being a mama of four and a wife to one. Oh….and hi Jesus, how’s it goin’? Been awhile! I do feel His sustaining hand through all this, but I am craving our dinners together and our Bible nights and just being together as a family. It’s a season that will soon be over, but we need to learn how to not let the busy seasons get the best of us, because seasons go, but they always come back.

  55. Ash says

    Thanks for the encouragement Kristin! Dinner time is also my favorite part of the day, but I do sometimes have trouble balancing feeding our 1 year old and having good conversation with the hubs. It’s a bit chaotic but so worth it to sit and model family time early with our daughter. My challenge is having finger foods my little one can eat while we eat dinner. Cheerios aren’t cutting it anymore!!

  56. KR says

    I struggle with the kids (6, 8, & 10) talking nonstop the ENTIRE meal. My husband and I eat in silence (well, there’s no silence when 3 people are talking, but you know what I mean). I haven’t figured out how to have a 5 way conversation without everyone interrupting everyone.

  57. jeannie says

    we seem to drift away from the table after eating to forget to do devotions.With all the activities after a super quick dinner it is hard to stay focused on what really matters. We need to work on that.

  58. says

    We LOVE the Jesus Storybook Bible! Especially the audio version…so worth the extra money! It’s so engaging it just pulls you into the story! We put it on the ipods my kids listen to at bedtime and they love it! Thanks for the ideas for those devotionals for the older kids! I’ll definitely give them a try!

  59. says

    One more thing to add after reading some of the comments…we found dinner to be a tougher time to focus on spiritual things because of scheduling and other things, so we took a cue from David and Kelli Pritchard (authors of the book: Going Public–which I HIGHLY recommend for all parents) and we do it at breakfast! Even on school mornings…everyone is there, and it took a commitment on our part as the parents to get up earlier and get everyone else up earlier and have breakfast together without being rushed, but it has been totally worth it! And the fact that everyone is a little sleepy keeps things a little calmer. :) We have six kids (3 boys and 3 girls…just like the Brady Bunch) ranging in age from 9-3, so they’re still on the younger side and can get rowdy sometimes. :)

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