About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
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(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. our routine is to sit in front of the tv to eat dinner. every night! If for some reason I decide to set the table the kids give me grief and wonder who is coming over. I would love to reclaim this time and reclaim my dining room table. Right now it is covered with mail, coupons, sewing supplies, sewing machine, laptop and a few stuffed animals! Hmmmm, guess I have some work on my end to get this stuff cleared away in order to actually use the table for its intended purpose!


  2. Amen!

    I so much believe in the importance of together time…at the table, without distractions. We have an unspoken rule that no one reads at the table if someone else is there, too. And we try to seize the together-time for conversation and sharing. For us, it’s really important that we sit down at the table for breakfast together, starting our day with who it matters most to be with–each other. Inevitably, my husband and I learn more about our son’s previous day during breakfast time the next day, and we’re off to a great start in all of our days when we take the time to calmly eat and talk.

    My groom and I also have a routine of sharing lunch together a few days during the week, and it really does strengthen intimacy in our relationship.

    It’s amazing what sharing a meal does!

  3. This is one tradition that I want to implement once I have children. My husband and I are pretty good about sitting down together for dinner, each night, with no TV or cell phones, but I really want to keep it going once kids come into the picture. This is one thing my parents did really well, despite 4 kids with busy schedules. We always sat down for dinner each week night. Such good memories and I agree that it opens the door for bonding and real communication.

  4. Last night my husband said, “We never eat at the table anymore.”
    “The table is too big for just the two of us.” I said.
    It isn’t in our case lack of conversation as we converse all of the time, but we found eating at the breakfast bar, teasing him about baseball, and enjoying even a simple salad really solidifies our relationship. I think most families struggle to maintain that connection because it is true that parents have to compete with video games, FB, twitter, etc for their children’s time. The old addage, “The child chooses the quality time,” is still true but with the times changed so drastically, I think the parents need to step in and create that quality time.

  5. Love this post! My husband and I were just talking about the same thing. We get back home from vacation this coming Sunday. School starts Wednesday for our teenager and we are commiting to dinner at the dining table — not in front of the tv — every evening. I think we will use your candlelight idea as well. Sounds soothing and most busy families these days can use a little soothing to wind down the day!

  6. Family time together around the dinner table is so important! My two oldest sons have spent most of the summer evenings at band practice. After the big contest last Friday, all 6 of us were finally able to eat dinner together again Saturday. What a glorious night! I thanked God that we were all able to eat together again! It may seem like such a “small” thing to some people, but coming together at the dinner table has a “huge” impact on our family togetherness. 🙂

  7. Thanks you for this reminder/challenge. I will share this with my husband this evening and talk to the kids as well. We feel the juggling act on several nights a week as we have 4 kids and 3 are involved in competitive sports. I am certain God has a solution. When we do prioritize this, we never regret it. Thanks for your willingness to share.

  8. My hubby and I sit together and watch TV. It is “our time” to connect & talk about the day & world events.

    We begin by praying and just relaxing together. After dinner we sit and snuggle before bed and early schedules.

  9. We don’t often sit around the table to eat )C: We do when we have company, but sometimes we just all curl up on the couches and visit while sitting and eating. As a family we also just eat in the living room on TV trays either with or without TV/movie. My hubby has never been into tradition or doing something because someone says it should be done that way…so has never really felt the “need” to sit at the table. There are times I wish we did, but I don’t feel like we lack for “connection” so I don’t worry about it too much

  10. During some busy seasons when ball schedules made family meal time impossible, we instituted family snack/dessert time! After we got home the boys would run shower and get ready for bed and we would all meet in the kitchen for a light snack or dessert. It allowed us to stayed anchored and besides they were always hungry after a ball game! 🙂

  11. I remember well meal times growing up. I come from a family of ten and we would all squeeze around a large round table and talk and laugh through the whole mealtime. I find it harder to repeat these days with one child in college.
    So my priority these days is to have the table set for my husband and myself and if we are lucky enough to see college boy it’s easy to set another plate. I must admit a strong pull to the whole TV tray idea as the house empties but I am willing to fight for that one on one conversation.
    Thanks for the encouragement!