Essay,  Faith


I’ve been reflecting on how many meals I ate at other people’s houses as a kid. You’d be playing at a friend’s house, getting jealous of all her awesome toys, and then her mom would knock on the door and offer a snack. Or ask if you wanted to stay for dinner. And you’d be like…yeah, sure, I guess. When I think on that now, I think, woah that was food! Someone made that for you! And shared it! And then did all the dishes!

(My best friend’s mom used to welcome us home with graham crackers and a warm pan of chocolate frosting…WHAT. Top Ten Middle School Memory, right there.)

Or how many times my family of nine was invited over to have dinner with another family. Nine. My grocery-shopping-brain says HOW MUCH FOOD WAS THAT? Seriously, that is huge amount of food.


I’m baking bread and making soup to leave behind for Joe and Lux for the weekend. Joan will fly with me to Michigan early tomorrow morning to see three wonderful friends–two of whom are pregnant. We’ll hop in the car, together with Joan’s car seat, and drive up to northern Michigan for the weekend. Campfires, chilly beach walks along the lake, good coffee, and lots and lots of good conversation await. So I’m making food to leave behind. And my friends in Michigan are making food to greet me.

One happy circle of having food made for you, and you making food for someone else. Being poured into, then pouring onward, or inward. Most of childhood, your cup overflowed till maybe you stopped noticing all the wonderful favors being done for you. Now things might be a little shallower, but I’m all the better for it ’cause I notice every drop.


I went to a Bible Study this morning in a town outside Boston, in one of those churches that could be mistaken for a high school. When I found the nursery room there were two grandmothers waiting to take Joan. I knew that she had eaten, but I also knew it would be a long road of walking-rocking-humming to get her to sleep. They nodded cheerfully at my specific instructions, clearly ignoring me with glazed-over eyes only for Joan. They smiled at me, the hovering mother, and waved me away. I dropped Lux off in a room full of stickers and checkered duplo blocks. And headed upstairs. There was coffee, and some anonymous someone made coffeecake. And some anonymous someone made those little cornflakes piles doused in peanut butter and butterscotch. I sat in a chair, and listened to older women who knew how tired I was, but wanted to encourage me anyway. I took some deep breaths and listened carefully. It took all of 15 minutes for me to fill up again and be ready to see my girls.

What’s the word? There’s a word for this…grateful.

Happy weekend everybody! and keep your eyes on instagram for too many photos of Michigan, because it’s the prettiest.

Photos of pesto and tomato sandwich makings from this summer. The title of this post is quote from Alice Waters.



  • Melanie Yarbrough

    This is beautiful. It’s no wonder that so many cultures celebrate, mourn, and gather around the table. It is the best way I know how to show that I am thinking of someone and one of the best ways I feel loved. I am blessed to also have good memories of food from my childhood.

    Enjoy Michigan!

  • kelsey

    Have a wonderful trip! It sounds like the perfect getaway.

    I came home after Bible Study yesterday, called Michael, and told him how after two hours I felt like a different person! It was glorious. Grateful is the perfect word….I felt undeserving of it all and B loved his little grandmother friends.:) See you next week!

  • Ren

    Mmm… Some of the best meals I’ve ever had have been at other people’s houses. But, then, I’ve also had really gross meals at others’ houses, too. Sorry. That was a killjoy thing to say.

    • Rachael Ringenberg

      SORRY for the delayed response on this. Haha, I’ve definitely had very weird meals at other people’s houses…and the otherness just made them weirder. How was THIS made? you find yourself asking.

  • bridget

    My best friend from home was one of five. And they had me over for dinner all the time. Now that I have William asking for a friend to eat over, I get that. Like, “Um… I only have THIS MANY CHICKEN BREASTS.”

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