Growing up in a household of seven…on one income…meant that going out to eat was very special–and very rare. I mean, even a fast food joint was a treat. I remember going to Taco Bell in Wapakoneta after church and being thrilled about those 2 soft shelled tacos and free refills at the soda fountain. Sometimes we would go to the McDonald’s at Indian Lake and eat outside on the boat dock. We would feed some of our precious french fries to the massive Carp that were lazily swimming in the channel behind the restaurant. What a thrill to watch the boats glide by and enjoy food that someone else prepared, bought and paid for in an instantly gratifying exchange. On the very rare occasion in which we were able to go to a sit-down restaurant with an actual menu, we were all well versed in the understanding that our choices were only among the cheapest items. I had never ordered a steak…or eaten a steak, that I can remember…until after I was married. I remember feeling that it was super indulgent to do so for the first time. I was tinged with guilt at such extravagance, but oh, what a treat!
Since those days, my sisters and I have started a tradition…a Princess Evening tradition. But in order to fully understand how priceless these evenings are, it helps to know where we have come from. If anything, our humble beginnings have made this tradition all the sweeter. So what is a Princess Evening?
A Princess Evening is our chance to be Cinderella on her way to the Grand Ball at the Palace. We dress up and celebrate our beauty. We pay extra attention to hair and makeup and we pull out all the gawdy jewelry and all the stops. We try to make it a really special occasion…and we go to a really nice restaurant where the food is over the top and the atmosphere is fun and sets the tone for celebration. We order appetizers and whatever entre we want, and if we’re feeling especially celebratory, we share a dessert. But most of all, we just drink in the time together and enjoy each other’s company. We talk and laugh, and I must confess, we are probably way too loud. It has all the makings of incandescence. It is simply magical. Shauna Neiquist said once, that tables are sacred spaces, and I truly believe that. Some of my absolutely fondest memories have centered around a table with food and my dearest friends and family.
If going to a swanky restaurant isn’t in the cards for you, do not despair! Deuteronomy 30:19 says, “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life that you may LIVE!! (emphasis added…) There are any number of ways to lose hope in a given day, Lord knows. But I am telling you, hope is always there, standing on the cusp, waiting for you to FIGHT. FOR. JOY. Sometimes you just have to carve out the time and effort and CHOOSE to celebrate, even in spite of your circumstances. Put a table cloth on your table, light candles, put on some yummy music, invite your dearest friends over and celebrate life! Wear something that makes you feel beautiful! Wear a red dress, or that Little Black Dress that has been neglected. Cook something delicious, but make sure it is something easy. Simple food is always the tastiest. Especially when prepared with love. Take time to cultivate your inner princess and inspire your loved ones to do the same. You are WORTHY and Abba Father delights in your JOY! Indeed, you were created to be a part of His joy! His joy is made complete in us through Christ Jesus and the invitation is always open. Believe it…and JOIN IN!!!! ~Shanna