Mismatched Dishes and Thanksgiving: The Beauty of Imperfection

It didn’t occur to me until I saw the pictures cropping up on Facebook. Beautiful tables set with sparkling place settings.

I glanced back at the picture my husband had snapped and posted. The food looked as good as it had tasted, but sure enough, our table was set with decades-old mismatched dishes. Instead of cloth napkins, we had paper towels folded besides our plates. The refrigerator someone had given us when our old one gave up the ghost was still sitting in the living room, blocking the view of the fireplace. And I looked pretty darn good, considering that I had rolled out of bed that morning and started cooking, not pausing to do anything more than run a toothbrush over my teeth and clip my unbrushed hair off my neck to keep it from getting in the turkey drippings.


But you know what? I smiled when I saw that picture.

I am thankful for the hodge-podge of dishes my father-in-law gave us, so “I don’t have to worry when the boys break something” (which they are rather prone to do).

I am SO thankful for friends from church who sprang into action when they found out our refrigerator died. I was in Kenya at the time, and Aaron was in dire straits. Within the day, two of the pastors were at the door with a hand-me-down fridge a family had given us. How much do I love these people?!

I am thankful for parents who affirmed my worth and instilled self-confidence, and for a husband who loves and encourages me. If I am able to face the world as I am, rumpled and barefaced inside and out, it is because I know that I am deeply loved no matter what.

On the other hand, I am thankful that Pinterest did not exist when I was in my twenties and freaking out about my abysmal failure at the whole domestic goddess thing. Because seriously.

And of course, I am deeply thankful for the precious people around the table, for my warm, comfortable house in the woods, for good food and the income to buy it.

For all this, and more, I am truly grateful.


8 Responses to Mismatched Dishes and Thanksgiving: The Beauty of Imperfection

  1. Tim November 30, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    You table looks like ours, Jen. I don’t know if I could enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner as much if it looked like one of those Pinterest set pieces.

    Happy Thanksgiving,

    • Jenny Rae Armstrong November 30, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

      Yep, there’s definitely a comfortable coziness to mismatched dishes baking racks put into use as trivets. Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Tim!

  2. Jane@Small Deeds November 30, 2013 at 9:42 am #

    This is so beautiful! The picture and the words.

  3. Laura M. November 30, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    I love your thoughts in this post Jenny! And I’m taking it in a slightly different direction. My spouse and I continually open our home to international students of various types that live with us for weeks/months at a time. We’ve had over 20 students live with us since 1997. Some people wonder how we do this, and I find that people confuse “entertaining” with “hospitality.” They think we non-stop entertain. Ugh. No. That would be exhausting. I’ve never been good at entertaining. But we are good at hospitality – welcoming people into our everyday life, imperfections and all. Your mis-matched table reminded me of this! : ) Join us…welcome to our mess! I would have felt right at home at your table Jenny and love the photo. No pretenses. (Of course, there is nothing wrong with a wonderfully decorated table either!) I did not write it, but here is an article I appreciated on biblical hospitality and the difference between entertaining and hospitality.

    • Jenny Rae Armstrong November 30, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

      Thanks Laura! You’re totally right about the difference between hospitality and entertaining. I don’t do entertaining–people who come over get to walk right into our mess, for better or for worse. :-) I think certain types really love entertaining, making everything a work of art, but I wouldn’t enjoy it at ALL. I’m like, “come on over, I have enough frozen pizzas for everyone.” 😀

  4. Diana Trautwein November 30, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    Beautiful – in every way. Thank you.

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