The Art of Gathering

A Guest Writer Series

Welcome, your place is ready. Sit down. Breath. Feel your soul exhale as you wrap your hands around a warm cup of tea and a story. The stories shared here are the perfect mix of encouragement and practical. These writers want to share a bit of their heart with you so that gathering at the table is seen in the right light. Gathering together is how we are wired. Gathering at the table is how we are formed and known. Praying for you, that as you read your soul will fill its worth, He is waiting for you at Table, come.


Connection
Meals
Joy
Sorrow
Journaling
Learning
School
Deep talks
Board games
Meaningful conversations
Meeting with my Maker

Gathering at the table represents more than eating a meal at dinner time, it’s the center of our home. I have encountered my Maker there for devotions in the early morning. It’s where my husband and I did our very first devotions together as husband and wife. Then with our boys nestled between us we hold family devotions together. We have expanded the table over the years to make room for our small groups and feasts with friends. The table is where every one of the boys birthdays has been decorated and celebrated. The table is a precious and integral part of our lives.

I remember the day I met Daisy for the first time at the table. I was invited by a friend to go to my first IF:Table and Daisy was the host. Event though the table was beautifully decorated and inviting, the one thing I recall is Daisy’s warm smile as she said, “Welcome.” That day marks the beginning of our gathering at table but thankfully of our friendship as well. Invitation does not call for a perfect place, just a place that is full of the Lord’s love and grace.

Gathering and making room at the table for others is important especially when you make space their season of grief. Over a year ago my dad passed away leaving me feeling a bit untethered. I found myself at the table and I found it full. Friends and family brought food and friendship to our table giving me the freedom to just be with my mom and extended family. What a gift. During those months we continued to meet with our small group, eating together created space for me to share my grieving heart. It was joy mixed with grief a reminder of the kingdom of God-the tension of the here and the not yet. My father is a believer in Jesus Christ he loved the Lord, and I know that I will see him again. I know that there will be moments when I will miss him espcially his prayers.

The way my parents practiced gathering around the table was to always have an open spot ready for anyone. I remember sharing the table with missionaries, friends, and sibling’s friends-eating together as a family. The more I gather at the table the more I realize that Inviting others over even if they say no, is important. The invitation is the just the beginning to know that you are thought of and invited is the catalyst to gathering authentically.

You don’t have to be the best cook, because I’m certainly not. If all else fails, make it a Mexican food night— you can’t go wrong. Everyone loves chips + salsa. Your heart for each other and the kindness of gathering at the table are what truly matters. So, do the inviting without hesitation because you have been invited first by the one who longs to meet you at the Table. He will give you the grace to make room at the table for others. I invite you to then pray ahead of time. Ask the Lord to meet you and your guests as you “break bread” together. May your table be filled with nourishing grace.

Gracefully,

Johanna

Devoted to my Maker. Married my husband David, for over 23 years + mom to three wonderful guys. Yes, I am surrounded by testosterone and BOY do I LOVE being their mom! I am a graphic designer by degree and author for the love of it. I’ve recently started selling Scripture Collections. My Christmas ScriptureCollection sets just launched, please visit me and get a set for your own table.

Connect with Johanna

Instagram
@johanna_devotedtomaker

Facebook


Let’s Connect over Tea!

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Gathering Together doesn’t have to be Extreme

A sneak peek to the Art of Gathering…coming soon

Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. Five Minute Friday is a great place to hone my writing practice and be encouraged by other writers as I write. I will set the timer for five minutes and then write. Here we go! I am excited to invite you in, welcome.


The Art of Gathering

I will extend an invitation to sit at table with others quickly. I don’t know exactly when this practice shifted for me from planned ahead invites to spontaneous ones. What I do know is that shift also shifted my life paradigm. I now can see the absolute treasure of having a table moment with others as the absolute treasure that it is.

I don’t spend much time focusing on the state of my home or the lack of whatever ingredient. But I focus instead not the time I will get to be creative together as we prepare our meal together. I remember that I will also catch a glimpse of Jesus as I spend time breaking bread together with my friend. I want to make time to see and taste the goodness of God that I can only find through the life of the person sitting at table with me. ‘

So, once again the table is changing my life. I am passionate about gathering and I want to come alongside you and show the beautiful simplicity of practicing it. I want you know that gathering together does not have to be extreme instead its a beautiful practice that will change your life because of its simplicity.

This is really a little teaser! make sure you sign up for the newsletter so you don’t miss the upcoming fun! A simple and beautiful gathering guide, a giveaway, and stories that will encourage us to shift our view of gathering around the table. I don’t want you to miss it!

Gracefully,

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Participating in Doing Good to Live Well

The Love Offering Blog Series

The day could be described as mundane, an everyday kind of day. There was the bed to be made, books to be read, and kiddos to be fed. And if I hadn’t had the eyes of enthusiasm for new beginnings and new beauty. I would have missed the way the light streamed across the made bed, the beauty of discovering new encouragement in the book today, and the way the little ones with light dancing in their eyes fed me. I chose to look for the beauty placed strategically for me and participate in the good that was mine to do instead. 

We face these choices day to day. Will we complain or bemoan what could have been using all of our energy there? Leading us then to miss the gift of the good works “which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) I want to live slow enough to see that He establishes the work of my hands. All of the work of my hands, not just the big and public ones.

The rest of the this devotional can be found on the Love Offering Blog Guest Series, hosted by the lovely Rachael Adams

In this post you will be encouraged to look for the Lord in the mundane moments knowing that He will be found. I also
Come and be inspired but most importantly- come see that He is good, you are called to goodness to live well.

Gracefully,

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The Stillness of Breath Prayer

Three ways Breath Prayers Anchor our Prayer Time


“Jesus is always near, about our path by day and our bed by night; nearer then the light by which we see, or the air we breathe; nearer then we are to ourselves; so that not a thought, a sigh, or a tear escapes his notice.”

John Newton

I remember hearing this quote as tear indeed ran down my cheek, smiling because I knew Jesus was noticing it, even then. As my breath prayer practice cemented into my life, this quote became an anchor. To me breath prayer is a way that my soul breathes.

In this practice, we inhale and exhale the Spirit’s presence using a prayerful phrase. Noticing our breath grounds us and connects us as whole beings: soul, mind, and body. This tri-level connection is what I like to call “the stillness of breath prayer.” It is difficult to feel untethered when we are present to our bodies…

One of my favorite ways to practice this has been using the Dawn app. It is a beautiful tool, created by my friend Angie Gibbons ,. This app is key in helping me slow down and be present in prayer.

The rest of the this devotional can be found on the Dawn App Blog. Come and be inspired but most importantly- come see for yourself how implementing breath prayer into your prayer time can anchor you to His peace.

Gracefully,

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A Chance to Be Filled Completely

New Devotional: Fullness:Trusting the Faithfulness of God to Fill Our Emptiness


So many goals swirling in my brain. So many dreams wanting to take root. I see them. They give me hope that new things are wanting to break through. This year I want to take time to hone the craft of writing. Five Minute Friday is a great place for me practice and be encouraged by other writers as I write. I will set the timer for five minutes and then write. Here we go! I am excited to invite you in, welcome.


I have been in the book of Ruth for the past 7 months and what I have discovered about the Lord’s goodness has blown me away.

I wonder if you have felt as I have at times. Empty with not explanation as to why you feel this way. Maybe you have had a hard time finding purpose in the mundane moments of life. I have felt at times like I am toiling and not finding purpose in the work of my hands because it seems as if things happen to me by chance.

But then, I see Naomi and Ruth walk the path set before them well, albeit hard and full of frightful turns. As they persevered, at times reproachful of God’s ways, I also found that God in his providence was making their path straight. Not just straight to success but straight to his heart. Where their only hope of being full and fulfilled was found.

I wrote this devotional for me and for you. To bring us hope in the waiting. To give us strength to persevere, and remind us that in returning to the Lord we have all we need. He will always fill our emptiness because He is faithful.

Join me over on Faith Social and spend time in the book of Ruth where you will see that a chance to filled up is completely available.

Gracefully,

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Freedom

a haiku on Motherhood and Life

A quick snack for any occasion


Creating together
A universe of wonder
Your eyes alight
Free





~dfd

Giselle and I made these quick treats on the Fourth of July.

I love that you can keep most of the ingredients on hand, and the colors can be adjusted for any occasion. Although I have made a version of these before, These were inspired by Brighter Day Press

Here’s a quick but detailed recipe.

Ingredients:

1 large packet of of Quick Candy bar (or 2 cups of Candy Melts)

1 cup of of blue candy melts

1/2 cup of red candy melts

1 bag Long pretzel rods (you will get about 24 rods)

White and blue Sprinkle stars

Parchment paper

2 microwave safe bowls

1 microwave safe jar or measuring jar

Spoon, fork, mini spatula

Cookie sheet

Instructions:

  • Gather all of your utensil and ingredients to your work area
  • Place one piece of parchment paper on the counter.
  • Place a second piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet
  • melt the white quick candy coating according to instruction
  • Dip the pretzel rods in the melted white chocolate place them on the cookie sheet and when full place it in the fridge to help them harden quicker.
  • While they harden melt the blue and red candy melts. Or divide up the white chocolate putting about half of cup and add food coloring to get the desired color.
  • Take the white dipped rods out of the fridge and dip the tip or as much as halfway in the blue chocolate.
  • While the blue is still wet sprinkle with stars
  • Dip the rest of the rods in white chocolate and put them in the fridge on the cookie sheet And repeat the blue dipping plus star sprinkling process on the newly hardened pretzels.
  • Next line them up side by side in both parchment papers
  • Melt the red colored candy melt
  • Using a fork drizzle the red chocolate over the white chocolate part of the pretzels

Let them harden and enjoy!

Or place a few in a treat bag and share with your neighbors!

P.s. catch the reel of us making these here.

Gracefully,

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Change

Change

It sometimes tip toes in 
It sometimes catches us by surprise 
But mainly it stops us and makes us pay attention.

I am adjusting constantly 
My body adjusts in microscopic ways unbeknownst to me
I adjust again 

A coffee sent me reeling 
A lack of in-home barista 
A lack of your presence 
I adjust again 

Reminding myself of your smile
Of the way my heart will flutter 
When you walk in the door 
I adjust again 

I wait 
Your presence a gift
I froth milk 
Reheat the coffee you left me 
I adjust again. 


~dfd


Shalom as we change with grace,

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Heal

Five Minute Friday


So many goals swirling in my brain. So many dreams wanting to take root. I see them. They give me hope that new things are wanting to break through. This year I want to take time to hone the craft of writing. Five Minute Friday is a great place for me practice and be encouraged by other writers as I write. I will set the timer for five minutes and then write. Here we go! I am excited to invite you in, welcome.


Heal

Take time to heal they say
feel your emotions 
it leads to the healing way 

How can we heal 
when the wound keeps getting cracked open? 

How will our hearts heal
when every new tragedy shatters it again and again

How can we heal 
when our collective trauma 
is now measured in years?

How can we heal 
when we continue to isolate 
and grief seems to drown us? 

Come,
 together we can heal
we hold our grief together 
we heal together 

We look for beauty together:
the peonies anew heal 
the sun's rays caress tenderly heal
the way our hands linger together heals
her little bright eyes heal
their giggles in the sprinkler heal
our voices raised collectively heal 
our tears shed in community heal
our tables set together heal

The healing of our souls 
lead us to action 
beginning with our hearts 
gently we lay it down 
gently we stand brave and fight for justice

Justice will always prevail.

~DFD

Our hearts are with the families in #uvalde. As we heal may we take action and contact our representatives, donate, and continue to seek justice together. Here are some links that are helping me take action. 
Go Fund me for the families of the Uvalde tragedy
Contact your representatives for gun safety legislation 
An Easy way to contact your representatives using resist bot 

Gracefully,

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Quick Apple Chicken Salad

Aunt Linda’s Chicken Salad Recipe


Sometimes a food will bring up nostalgic feelings, this salad always takes me back to a golden time in my life. A time of discovery, growing up, and lingering in the what could be. I loved sitting around Aunt Linda’s island chatting about school, she would check on our hearts, and together we wondered and dreamt about the future. Does food do that to you? I’d love it if you shared!

Today, I give you a snack that could also be used for lunch! Serve it over a bed of greens or on a veggie board along with humus and crackers. I hope you try it and then tuck it in to your go to recipes. You are going to love how it comes together quick and easy!

Ingredients:

12 oz shredded chicken (1 can)
2 green apples diced
1cup of raw almonds
1/4 cup mayo
1/2 tbsp of dry dill
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Begin by gathering all the ingredients to your work space

2. mix all ingredients in a large bowl

3. Serve and enjoy!

4. Can be refrigerated for a day or so, may dry out but just add a bit of mayo to moisten!

La Ensalada de Pollo de Tia Linda

Ingredientes:

12 oz de carne pollo desebrada (una lata)
2 manzanas verde cortadas en cubitos
1 taza de almendras crudas
1/4 taza de mayonesa
1/2 tbsp de eneldo seco (dry dill)
sal y pimiento al sabor preferid

Instruciones 

1. Comienza recogiendo todos los ingredientes

2. agrega los ingredientes a un tazón y mezcla

3. listo! sirve y disfruta!

4. puedes guardar la ensalada en la refrigeradora por un día, si se seca le puedes añadir un poco de mayonesa!

Buen provecho,

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Book Stack

A Poem to COVID-19

Oh Covid-19, 
Spring is here in its usual SPRING LIKE JASMINE way. 
You may feel like you are still blooming 
But know that we are PRAYING TOGETHER for your eradication.

I am happy to practice THE ART OF GATHERING again
Especially gathering for the good of others with Noonday
Although, you have caused so much disruption
There is beauty emerging out of the chaos 

In these last few years I have been able to GIVE MY CHILD THE WORLD 
Through homeschooling and exploring books together
 I have also spent more time examining our propensity to live BUSY LIVES that lead to RESTLESS SOULS.

And so I am re-reading ESSENTIALISM as I continue to focus on what truly matters as we long to live a purposeful life. 
I am now more than ever convinced that creating is an act of resistance 
And so we create and continue ADORNING THE DARK left in your wake. 

Although it may seem like I AM ALL OVER THE PLACE 
The COMFORT  BOOK reminded me that “cooking is the best kind of active meditation”  so weekly I practice meditation when I Prep and Pray 
This is my active stand in THE RUTHLESS ELIMINATION OF HURRY 


With your arrival so much of our normal activities ceased 
But we continue the sacred struggle in slowing down
And I long to live free and light WHEN STRIVINGS CEASE.

We learned to live and work from home 
We have also learned to live at home with our whole self 
Giving thanks for this good body is a new rhythm for me
And I can feel that I am slowly BREAKING FREE FROM BODY SHAME 

Even though you meant to ravish our bodies 
You don’t get the last word
These bodies are meant for greater purposes 

And Black women have beautifully embodied faith 
Like they are CARVED IN EBONY showing us all 
That “there is a justice in joy” so, CALL US WHAT WE CARRY 
Because we are healing through our collective poetry of love

Here I stand to BLESS THE SPACE BETWEEN US 
Covid 19 your presence desired to steal our peace
And fill us with anxiety but IN THE NAME OF JESUS 
We choose RHYTHMS OF RENEWAL

THIS BEAUTIFUL TRUTH will prevail 
We are stepping into Holy Ground 
Every small unseen moment is exactly 
Where heaven abounds. 

Shalom. 

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