I married a maker.
Randy’s a learn-through-doing type of guy. He’s humble, he appreciates beauty and excellence and he’s a minimalist. He likes things simple. He craves empty spaces. He doesn’t fill voids with unnecessary words or things.
A few years ago I fell in love with a dining room table I saw while flipping the pages of a Scandinavian-style furniture catalog. The mahogany table had clean sleek lines, looked timeless, and even came with its own name. It was the one, perfect for our tiny dining area. The only drawback was its $2500 price tag, making it out of reach for us.
As I admired the table I could imagine our young family of 4 gathering around it for years. It would keep life simple. Keep us focused on the things that mattered most—connecting with and encouraging one another.
I saw us laughing, too. Laughing about everything and about nothing. All while we ate my home-made meals.
You see, I’m a maker too.
For decades the concept of making a meal from scratch terrified me. The kitchen was not a room to linger in. I’d run in and grab a quick bowl of cereal, a bagel, a handful of tortilla chips, and lots and lots of cheese. Instead of space that unleashed my creativity, it served only as a storage room.
During this time I thought I ate well—both at home and out. I wasn’t hitting up McDonalds or Wendys. I wasn’t a pop drinker. And I only ate candy bars on Halloween.
But my health was deteriorating. And all these foods I was consuming, both inside and outside my home, were a big piece of the puzzle. The sluggishness, the spare tire around my waist and the daily heartburn were all warnings I ignored of covered up with pharmaceuticals. Had I been more in tune with what my body was trying to tell me I may not have ended up with three autoimmune diseases.
I knew I needed to make a change. And I knew it needed to happen in the kitchen. But walking into that room gave me the sweats. Cooking scared me. It felt complicated and I didn’t know where to start. There was no turning back however, I had already bought into the idea that food is medicine. That most foods found in the Western diet have little to no nutritional value and as a result, chronic diseases are rampant. I was living proof.
Did I become a chef over night? No. I’m still not one today. What I’ve learned? How to simplify cooking. How to make delicious, healthy meals that don’t keep me in the kitchen all day. That fear I had? It's evaporated. The kitchen is now one of my favorite rooms in the house.
When I’m in the kitchen it feels meditative. Working with my hands, engrossed in making meals that will nourish and create a foundation of lifelong health for our boys. The icing on this gluten-free, low-sugar cake? By getting rid of the clutter—the highly-processed, cheaply-made foods I was consuming, my personal health has come roaring back.
For centuries food has brought people together. At first around a fire—and today around a table. When the boys become adults and think back to their childhood “table time,” more than the meals I make, I want them to remember that the table was a place of comfort. A place to solve their problems. A place to be listened to, and heard. I want them to remember that the table was the launchpad for all their ideas and dreams. And that we intentionally left our individual distractions behind for a few moments of family time every day.
Randy enjoys making things. When I mentioned the table I was yearning for he looked at it, then looked at me and said, “I could make that. And for a fraction of the price.”
A month after perusing the catalog we had a new dining room table. One that was even better than the one that had stopped me in my tracks. It was made by hand, made by Randy.
Our table is now close to 4 years old. It represents what I value most in life. Family. Growth. Simple moments. It’s a device-free sanctuary. It’s a place to pause, to reset, to cherish one another. It’s where we eat home-made cookies, draw dinosaurs and can simply be. It’s become the heart of our home.
There’s something magical about looking at your craft and thinking, “I made this.” So, go out and make something today. Make a salad. Make a smoothie. Something that’ll boost your spirits and get you back on the path to growing heathy. And once you’ve made it, enjoy it, and let your heart swell with pride that you too, are a maker. We’re all makers of something.