The Lifegiving Table by Sally Clarkson is an excellent little book about food, family, hospitality, and the importance of living life in community.
The Life Giving Table vs. The Life Giving Home
Imagine yourself sitting down across the table from a wise older woman ready to answer your questions. Before you is a steaming cup of tea and little cookies. There are fragrant roses beside you, a candle lit, and a very detailed women who seeks beauty ready to tell you all her secrets to success with family. That is what it is like opening The Life Giving Table by Sally Clarkson.
This is my second book by Sally Clarkson. I have also enjoyed The Lifegiving Home which was fantastic but I think I actually enjoyed The Life Giving Table more. It felt to me like a condensed version of the The Life Giving Home with more grace built in.
Leaving The Life Giving Home I felt like I had sat with a mother and daughter as they gushed about their beautiful family. This is the perfect response because that is exactly what The Life Giving Home is. It is Sally and Sarah Clarkson sharing about the beautiful memories their family made together and how it all happened. It is filled to the brim with good ideas and sweet moments. I concluded it feeling like it was very nice and I would enjoy my children having that perspective of me when they are grown but I didn’t feel like it was at all possible. I imagined a life of trying to make special moments every day and failing miserably.
My life is very busy and many of the elements in The Life Giving Home just felt impossible. I know there was grace intentionally built into this book, however, to me it just didn’t feel very evident. Like a breath of fresh air, The Lifegiving Table came to my rescue. This book is only written by Sally Clarkson and it, in my opinion, contains just as much wisdom and insight into family living but adds a touch of grace my soul needed.
Sally Clarkson as Mentor
In this book we sit across the table from Sally as she pours out why we should be intentional with table time, what worked for her family, favorite recipes, and she adds a healthy dose of real life. She admits to being short tempered on occasion and tired and even dreading cooking another meal. She says her children really enjoy Chick Fil-A and Mexican food and suddenly the elements she was discussing didn’t feel so hard.
I enjoy cooking for my family and we eat every meal together (or at least with several of us together) at the table but I needed fresh perspective on the meaning this has and why it is so valuable. It can begin to feel tedious making endless meals for endless hungry stomachs as a mom. This book was healing for my soul.
And, on top of the encouragement she gives for how we can care well for our own families, she includes much about hospitality that is refreshing and enlightening. She gives party ideas, thoughts about food to feed a crowd, and simple ways to make sure we are intentionally blessing those the Lord brings our way.
I will go back to this book for sure. I am chewing on her words even now.
Her tone is conversational and honestly reminds me so much of my own mentor in college (read about her and her influence on my life here). She is deeply grounded in Scripture, approachable, real, wise, and practical.
There is a certain beauty that comes from successfully navigating the difficult days of motherhood and living to talk about it that is profoundly motivational and indeed “life-giving”. I think this is what the Scriptures speak of when in Titus 2 when they say, that older women are to teach younger women.
Older women who have gleaned wisdom by trying things, failing, succeeding, reevaluating, and prioritizing their walks with the Lord for many years have something deeply beautiful to share with younger women.
I’m so glad Sally Clarkson is a writer because I felt like I was having a conversation with a dear mentor in the Lord and, to be honest, I needed it.
While I do not believe that authors can replace real life mentoring relationships, many are able to contribute in similar ways. If you are hoping to genuinely welcome and give life through your homemaking and hospitality efforts, I suggest you take the time to dig into this work and learn from this sweet sister!
The Lifegiving Table is full of suggestions and ideas that are grounded in Scripture, promote beauty, and help us look at the big picture when sometimes it is hard to look past tonight’s dinner. I encourage you to pick up this book and read it with joy!