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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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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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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St. Patrick’s Day simple snack

a haiku on Motherhood and Life

A quick snack for any occasion

A little video from my IG

I delight 
your delight so pure
I awake to wonder
~dfd

Giselle and I made this quick snack for our St.Patrick’s afternoon snack

I love that you can keep most of the ingredients on hand, and the colors can be adjusted for any occasion.

Here’s a quick but detailed recipe.

Ingredients:

There are only two ingredients

  1. Boom Chica Pop Kettle Corn
  2. Lucky Charms

Instructions:

  • Gather all of your utensil and ingredients to your work area
  • no measurements needed
  • mix and make to your liking!

Or make a treat bag and share with your neighbors!

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

Gracefully,

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Ham Egg Cups

A Simple Recipe For An Easy Breakfast

These ham and egg cups have a way of making me feel prepared. Don’t you need that on Monday mornings, to just feel prepared? I sure do, so I wanted to share this little recipe with you. These ham and egg cups are simple and yet full of possibilities. Just try them and see for yourself! (p.s. let me know if you do!)

So, here goes a super easy one.

Ingredients

12 pieces of Ham (I love Applegate slow cooked Ham)
12 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
Herbs de Provence about a teaspoon
Oil spray bottle

Supplies 

a muffin tin

Instructions 

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

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

3. Prep the muffin tin by spraying it with the oil 

4. Place the ham in each muffin tin space forming a pocket

5. Fill the ham pocket with the egg

6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste

7. Sprinkle with Herbs de Provence

8. Spray the eggs with oil and place it in the oven

9. Cook for about 20 minutes

10. Serve warm and enjoy

Notas

They can also be stored in an air tight container for a week they reheat beautifully!

Take care to start with less salt if you are not using Applegate ham, I have found other brands of ham are more salty.

Buen provecho,

, ,

A Go to Guacamole

Guacamole delicioso y fácil

Easy guacamole to make with your kids.

Ingredients

3-4 ripe Avocados

21/2 white onion (or red)

2-3 Roma Tomatoes

1/4 cup of fresh cilantro 

1tsp of oregano

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp paprika 

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2-1 tsp of salt

Supplies 

A bowl with a flat bottom

A fork

A spoon

Knife

Cutting board

For Serving Choose any of these

Your favorite tortilla chips

Plantain chips

Cucumber, celery, and or carrots

Or just eat it by the spoonfuls

Instructions 

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

2. Dice onion and tomatoes and add it to the bowl

3. Halve avocados lengthwise removing the pits and set them aside for later. You can remove the pits easily by squeezing the avocado half gingerly until the seed pops out. 

4. With a spoon scoop out the flesh of the avocado and place into bowl with a fork mash the avocados to chunky consistency. Add the lime juice directly on the mashed avocados then add it to the bowl with the other veggies.

5. Chop the cilantro and add it to the bowl

6. Add the spices and stir until well combined

7. Add 1/2 tsp of salt and taste. Then decide if you want to add more salt until you it is to your liking. Stir again adding the pits to help it stay fresh-then serve!

Buen provecho,

PIC Credit: Cameron Braun

Post also appeared in Eclecticshadesmagazine March/April 2019 Issue

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Easy Couscous Salad

Deliciosa ensalada de cuscús

A colorful, tangy, and crunchy couscous salad.

This salad reminds me of laughter and cool breezes while dining al fresco in Greece. My family and I traveled there during my college years and the texture and unbelievable flavor of the food has never left me. Another thing I remember is how the table was central to everyday life; people gathered, they shared good food, and lingered over heart connections. 

I invite you to gather your community, set the table, and enjoy deep Christ centered conversation together. This salad will help you do it easily and without much fuss. You can grill some chicken and use this salad as a side dish and Listo! you have a healthy meal to share! 

Ingredients

1 medium sized glass jar or food storage container
1 small red onion (or a half of a large red onion)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp cumin

1 cup of pearl couscous /(I used a tri-color Israeli toasted one)/ 

2 cups of cherry tomatoes /cut in half/

1 English cucumber /cubed into medium sized cubes/ 

1 can of garbanzo beans /drained and rinsed/

1/2 red onion /thinly sliced/

1 cup feta cheese 

1/4 cup of fresh parsley /chopped/

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp ground black pepper 

1/2 tsp sea salt

For the vinaigrette 

1/4 cup of olive oil + one tablespoon  to cut the tartness after you mix the ingredients 

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 lemon /juiced/

2 cloves of garlic /minced/

1stp dried oregano

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

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

2. Thinly slice the red onion and put them aside

3. Take a quart sized pan and fill it with water, add salt and a splash of olive oil. (This step is flexible. Cook the couscous like you would cook pasta or follow the instructions on the package.)

4. Bring the water to a boil and then add the couscous simmer on medium until the couscous is “al dente,” not hard but not too soft. about 8-10 minutes. Then drain the couscous, rinse under cold water, and set in the refrigerator to chill. 

5. While the couscous is cooking, finish chopping the rest of the vegetables. (Keep your eye on the stove, anytime I cook pasta inevitably the water boils over.) 

6. While the couscous chills, mix the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously until well blended. Taste to check the tartness and flavor. You may need to add the leftover olive oil or more salt and pepper. 

7. In a salad bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes, garbanzo beans, feta, cucumbers, red onions, and parsley. Then add the chilled couscous. 

8. Serve immediately or place in the refrigerator for a few hours for the flavors to meld.

Deliciosa ensalada de cuscús

Ingredientes:

1 taza de cuscús de perla (yo use un cuscús de tres-colores)

2 tazas de tomates cherry cortados por mitad

1 un pepino cortado en cubitos medianos

1 una lata de  garbanzo escurridos y enjuagados 

1/2 una cebolla roja picada bien delgadita 

1 taza de queso feta 

1/4 taza de perejil picado 

1/4 cucharadita de comino

1/4 cucharadita pimienta molida

1/2 cucharadita de sal

 Para la  vinagreta 

1/4 taza de aceite de oliva + una cucharada para cortar la acidez después de mezclar los ingredientes 

1/4 taza de vinagre de vino tinto

El zumo de un limón

2 dientes de ajo picados

1 cucharadita de orégano seco

sal y pimienta a sabor

Instruciones 

1. Comienza recogiendo todos los ingredientes

2. Toma la cebolla y córtalas en rebanadas finas

3. Cocina el cuscús siguiendo las instrucciones del paquete, cuando el cuscús esté al dente, escurrirlo, enjuagarlo en agua helada, y ponerlo en la refri para que se enfríe. 

4. Mientras el cuscús se cocina termina de cortar el resto de los vegetales. 

6. Mientras el cuscús se enfría, mezcla la vinagreta en un frasco y agítalo vigorosamente hasta que esté bien mezclado. Pruébala para ver cómo está de ácido, podría ser que tengas que añadir más aceite de oliva o sal y pimienta. 

7. En una ensaladera, combina los tomates, garbanzos,queso feta, pepinos,cebollas rojas, y perejil. Después agrega el cuscús frío.

8. Sirve inmediatamente o ponlo en la refri un par de horas para que los sabores se mezclen. 

Buen provecho,

PIC Credit: Cameron Braun

Post also appeared in Eclecticshadesmagazine March/April 2019 Issue

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Create the Easiest Pickled Red Onions

take your power bowls and salads to the next level

Cebollas Rojas Encurtidas.


One of my fondest memories growing up in Honduras was spending time cooking with my aunt. She cooked outside on a mud stove that she herself remuded and took care of every day. She always had a pot of beans on the stove and mounds of tortillas handmade everyday. All of her delicious food was garnished with one kind or another with encurtido. On my travels to the Caribbean I rediscovered this childhood favorite and vowed to figure out how to make it at home! I asked my mom to give me her recipe because in Texas we kept a Texas-sized jar of vegetable encurtido on the kitchen counter too! Sabroso! As I’ve played around with my mom’s recipe my favorite encurtido to make is an easy pickled red onion recipe.

The total time for this recipe from prep to table is 20 minutes to 1 hour depending how long you want to let it marinade before you use it.
I make small batches so I use either a half of a large red onion or a small red onion and that makes about 8 servings. Each serving is about 1/2 a table spoon.

Ingredients

1 medium sized glass jar or food storage container
1 small red onion (or a half of a large red onion)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground black pepper + 6 or so whole kernels of peppers
1 bay leaf

Instructions

  1. Begin by gathering all the ingredients to your work space
  2. Thinly slice the red onion and put them aside
  3. take the glass jar and and mix together the remaining ingredients
  4. add the onions and stir well. If you are using a jar you can give it a little shake
  5. Listo! let it sit for at least 10 minutes before you use it.
  6. Now garnish any meal especially a breakfast with a sunny side up egg!

Notas

*Making this recipe should feel very comfortable and organic for you. Do not hesitate to add more of any of the ingredients to make it to your taste.
*Sometimes my slicing is not equal and uniform and that’s ok! The sharper your knife the better your slicing technique will be.
*When I don’t have oregano I substitute Herbs de Provence instead-you will love this herb blend!
*if you would like to submerge your onions completely you can add a bit more of vinegar or even olive oil.

Enjoy,

PIC Credit: Cameron Braun

Post also appeared in Eclecticshadesmagazine March/April 2019 Issue

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A Recipe to Make Today

Crispy Carnitas

Make this recipe and make your life deliciously simple.

These crispy carnitas will not only become your favorite meal but they will also make your life easier! You can make a double batch and they will help meal  planning for the week easy peasy. You’re  welcome!

Ingredients

Rub:

  • 1 table spoon of dried oregano
  • 2 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground chipotle (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 table spoon of Olive Oil, Avocado oil, or ghee

Crockpot or Dutch oven of pork shoulder:

  • about 3 lbs of pork shoulder, butt, or tenderloin
  • 3-4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • about 5 peppercorns
  • Juice of one orange
  • juice of one lime

For Serving

1 table spoon of Olive Oil, Avocado oil, or ghee

  • cilantro 
  • lime wedges
  • salsa
  • avocados
  • tortillas*  
  • rice*
  • Cotija Cheese*
  • cauliflower rice
  • pickled red onion
  • a greens blend 

Instructions

  1. Begin by gathering all the ingredients to your work space and prepping the vegetables. Prepare the meat by cutting it into about 4 in cubes and pat dry with a paper towel and place in crock pot or dutch oven. 
  2. Combine rub ingredients  and rub all over the meat.

For Crockpot

  • Prepare the Vegetables.
  • With your hands add rub to the meat covering the cubes on all sides. Then top with the prepared vegetables and remaining ingredients . Make sure to include the juiced orange and lime rinds . Cover, cook on high for four-6 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. When done you will find the meat separates very easily with two forks and will be very tender.
  • Once Cooked remove the meat from the crock pot place it a bow allow the meat to rest about 10 minutes.  Remove bay leaves and rinds. Use two forks to pull the meat apart. Do not discard juices.

For Dutch Oven

  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and place the oven rack in lower middle position. 
  • Prepare the vegetables. 
  • Once you’ve added rub to the meat  top with prepared vegetables the remaining ingredients. Make sure to include the the juiced orange and lime rinds.  Cover and cook.
  • At 1 hour check the meat to ensure you have enough juices rendering if you find that its gotten dry you can add a 1/2 cup of broth. 
  • Cook for another hour to 2 hours until meat is tender and falls apart easily or internal temperature is at least 150 degrees.
  • Remove from oven and allow the meat to rest about 10 minutes in Dutch Oven, remove bay leaves and rinds. Use two forks to pull the meat apart. Do not discard juices.

To Serve

  • Heat a drizzle of olive oil ( or preferred oil) in a medium skillet. Without overcrowding the meat cover the surface of the skillet and add a little of the carnitas’ juice. Brown just until the juice has almost evaporated and then flip them and cook a bit more. Make sure to not let them get too dry.
  • You can store the remaining meat in an air tight container and repeat these browning instructions when ready to use the left overs.
  • Use any of the sides or toppings listed above to serve. Enjoy!

Notas

  • Whole 30 approved casava tortillas 
  • Omit rice and cheese if whole 30 

Enjoy,

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Learn Together

5 Easy ways to learn together during National Black History Month
You can checkout the Bravery Magazine Collection here.

February is one of my favorite months! Not only because it’s my birthday month, although that plays a big part in it being my favorite, of course but also because I feel hopeful in this month. There’s a hope found in February that I don’t see in any other month, its almost like it marks a crossroads for the rest of the year. It is as if the hope of Spring and the Winter unseen growth seem to collide full force into February creating a catalyst for love to win over apathy.

This year, we don’t want to pass up the opportunity to grasp all the hope available in February when it comes to Black History Month. We want to gather cozy and use our family time to also include learning together. I’m excited to share with you five cozy ways to do this as a family while using your senses to enjoy it all. Will you join us in celebrating Black History Month in a new way?


Watch


Netflix is offering these beautiful read aloud read by influential black people who continue to use their voice with courage and give us opportunity to listen to black voices that lead us well. Here‘s the trailer. Your kiddos will enjoy it alongside you and one will not be enough! I especially love this series because it highlights the talent and skill of Black writers reminding us that we don’t only have to learn about their history through books about civil rights but we can also see into their souls as they write about the experiences they have had in their own skin. This is not the only thing you can watch, there are so many good movies and documentaries to prick from as well.

Another good one for your kiddos to watch alongside you is found on Prime Video. Or just to watch on your own and put yourself in the shoes of a Black child in the time around the Civil Rights Movement and gain more insight for how Black children today are asked to take on life so differently then most of us have to. An American Girl Story-Melody 1963: Love Has to Win. They do a beautiful job of depicting

Listen

Music is an easy way to enjoy the amazing talent of Black musicians. Through their words, rhythm, and powerful compositions we can learn more about how they have been shaped by their own history and see how important it is for us to know that history in general has been shaped by them as well. Here are a few of our favorite play lists from different places on the inter webs. Check out this playlist on Prime. Here’s our new favorite one on Apple Music.

https://music.apple.com/us/album/remember-me-to-harlem-ep/1549821910

A free play list on on You Tube.
An Afro-latino play list by Spanish Mama

Read

This is one of my favorite ways to learn and also enjoy the Black culture so close to us and so available to us we just need to make time to immerse ourselves in it. The kids and I are reading Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. This is a beautiful book, a memoir written in poetry form.

A reading

We are also reading through our Bravery Magazines, we are reading about Maya Angelo and working through the activities in the magazine. We are learning about poetry, caring for each other, and how two creatively connect with others realizing we all have more in common than we think. The kids then sent their friends electronically their about me questionnaire and asked their friends to fill out a blank one and send it back to them to see how much they have in common.

Taste

Of course we needed to include food, because well I love food. Celebrating Black History Month requires food indeed. I want to share with you a recipe that I want to try and one we already love and how food connects us through even when we live across the world from each other.

Picture by Chocolate for Basil

I can not wait to try this Peanut Stew. My friend from Central African Republic makes a delicious meat dish with peanut butter, this recipe reminds me his dish.

As I wrote this article I learned about the “after-chop” dessert course of Western Africa high lighting the fruit salad. Giselle loves making fruit salads and I am so excited to try a African fruit salad with her. One of the most interesting things about this fruit salad is that they add avocado to it. I found this list of ingredients, on kidactivities.net “A fruit salad can be made from just three or four of the ingredients listed below.
.Any of the following (fresh or canned): avocado, banana, grapefruit, guava, mango, melon, orange, papaya, peach, pear, pineapple, tangerine, juice of one lemon, crushed mint leaves, grated coconut, or chopped roasted peanuts, sugar or honey.”

Support

I have been meditating on this verse recently, especially when it comes to how and where I spend my money.

‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:21

So, as a family we want to make a more conscious effort to support local businesses especially those owned by people of color. I especially want to take great care to not always lean to convenience but to choose a small business over next day shipping. One of the places I want to support more this year are the small black owned book stores. I love books and this year I want to support small book stores over the convenience of Amazon.

What about you? In what ways are you celebrating Black History Month? What ides from the five listed above will you implement?

Gracefully,

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