The View from My Kitchen Table

When you come to our house for dinner, depending on where you sit at the long farmhouse-style table, you’ll get a certain glimpse into our life and values. Perhaps you’ll sit facing the living room. You’ll see a large photograph taken at Antelope Canyon in Arizona. Our friend took the photo looking up at the sky. Not everyone sees the red rock canyon in the picture. Some see fabric fluttering in the breeze. Others see an abstract swirl of orange, yellow, and red. In front of the photo are black and white photos of our family.

Perhaps you’ll sit facing the library with a view of full and semi-organized bookshelves. You’ll see a collection of favorite cookbooks, a chess table made from reclaimed wine barrels and scattered with craft projects as well as chess pieces. You’ll see two paintings of elephants, bought on a safari in South Africa and a photograph of Mt. Moran in the Grand Tetons.

Maybe you’ll sit facing the bank of windows that give you a view of our backyard. You’ll see two swings hanging from trees, places for our girls to play and connect with each other. You might have a view of our large pink poster with a Francis Bacon reproduction of a gorilla. I bought it at the Peggy Guggenheim museum in Venice, lugged it across France and Italy, and kept it for over a decade, waiting for the perfect spot to frame and hang it. Behind it hangs a wall of mugs from our favorite museums.

Our home is filled with treasures from our past adventures, our love of art and the stories it tells, and pieces from places we weave into our family story. Our girls know that the world is a small place; that Frank and I love learning from nature and from other cultures, and deep sense of curiosity is infused on our walls.

I just returned from my grandma’s memorial service in California. She was the last of my grandparents and close great-aunts and -uncles to pass away. For me, she closes out a generation that has shaped my values and worldview.

One of my fondest memories of my grandma comes from her own kitchen table. Set in the corner of her green and yellow kitchen, I would sit at a chair and see a knickknack cupboard filled with trinkets from around the world. Some were collected from my grandparent’s travels. Some were gifted from friends. I loved looking at those little objects, imagining the places they represented.

I never really thought about my grandma’s legacy in my own decorating style but I see it everywhere. Our home is a gateway into storytelling and a reminder that our world is smaller than we think. That other cultures shape all of us, both in big and small ways.

I just got home last night from a weekend of remembering an exceptional woman. But this weekend also rounded out an whole month of family––from a triennial reunion with cousins and second cousins and third cousins–– to a week in Philadelphia staying up too late making all the sweet memories with cousins to hosting various family throughout the month. I’ll be sitting with all I’ve learned in July for a while, I think. Mostly, I’m thankful for such a tangible opportunity to appreciate and honor all the ways my family has shaped the woman and mother I’m becoming.

In another week of shocking national news, I’m returning to my kitchen table. I’m remembering to start small, with my own daughters. We’ll look at pictures that represent different cultures; we’ll have conversations about our friends and neighbors who are immigrants and gun owners alike; we’ll bicker over whose turn it is to pray for the food and we’ll do all the small routines that make up our evenings.

Life can feel overwhelming and I’m remembering that, in the midst of it all, the view from our kitchen table will shape and define my girls’ worldview far more than I realize. If you’re feeling a bit lost these days––for whatever reason––take a look at what you see from where you eat. Use that space as a reminder of your values and hopes for this world.

Describe the view from your kitchen table. How does it define you?

11 thoughts on “The View from My Kitchen Table

  1. Interesting question. The view from my kitchen table right now allows me to look through two windows and enjoy the view of the neighbor’s flowers. We are moving and the new view from my kitchen table will be different. I look forward to seeing what God has for us to enjoy from our table.

  2. Where might be our kitchen table
    are several sleeping crates
    for dogs whom we were able
    to save from the worst of fates.
    Perhaps we’ll try the dining room,
    but Lo!, dogs on every side,
    when they left an empty tomb
    for a place where love abides.
    Living room, no, don’t bother,
    the sofa’s full-occupied
    with those canines who would rather
    play than have lonely-died.
    But come, friend, walk in through my door;
    we’ll have smokes and drinks – on the floor.

  3. I just love this Annie. Everything about it made me recall scenes in my childhood and those we are now giving to our granddaughter. Right now the view from our dining table is somewhat dark and the walls are sparse. But there are 3 windows that let the natural light in bathing the open living room and we see neighbors tending their yard, visiting with each other and in all of that we see hope. Thanks for this. Today. xx

  4. I love this question Annie. From one side you took right into my kitchen, usually with a recipe clipped to my microwave for that night’s dinner. I really like to plan our meals ahead, From the other side I look onto my buffet in my dining room that s covered with framed photos of my sons and my grandchildren.

  5. What a good reflection on daily life and values. Our table sits next to the “heart” of our home- a busy, messy, almost always occupied kitchen, our family room where we relax and our backyard which has become a favorite place to entertain. We too have lots of decorations from travels, family photos, a clock that we bought as newlyweds (that has stopped working) from a man who made it, and the equipment for enjoying the fellowship of the table. We also have a few prints with no connection, because we just needed to fill a space. I hope we’ll replace them someday with meaningful items.

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