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No Complaint Dinners: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Tuesday, March 10, 2020 by Laura Jane Cerling

The dream of every mom is to serve meals that are appreciated to a happy family. Thelma Brown was a good cook, and she knew how to serve a tasty meal. But sometimes one or more of her children came to dinner in a bad mood and made the meal unpleasant for everyone.

She wondered What can I do to make sure that everyone comes to the table with a good attitude?

New rule at dinnertime

So she started to serve “No Complaint Dinners.” She told her family that their conversation at the table had to be limited to statements that centered on thankfulness.

She soon found that when her children’s minds turned in the right direction, it was amazing how many things they could find that made them happy.

Learning to chat

The youngest family members needed help at first to come up with their stories. But this, too, turned into blessing when family members began to assist one another in finding proper “table talk.”

Good food consumed with joy and laughter makes the rest of the day go better.

What the Bible says

“Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife” (Prov. 17:1).

Today’s prayer

This beautiful prayer written by Robert Louis Stevenson in the nineteenth century (and updated in today’s language) is a good prayer to pray for our families:

Giving thanks

“Lord, look at our family altogether here. We thank You for this home we live in;  for the love that unites us; for the peace we experienced today; for the hope we look forward to tomorrow; for the health, the work, the food, and the bright skies that make our lives delightful; for our friends in all parts of the earth.

Pursuing peace

Let peace abound in our small company. Purge out of every heart the lurking grudge. Give us grace and strength to forbear with each other and to persevere in our responsibilities. We are all offenders: give us the grace to accept and to forgive other offenders. We are all forgetful: help us to bear cheerfully the forgetfulness of others.

Receiving courage, innocence and strength

Give us courage and glad hearts and a quiet mind. Spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies. Bless us, if possible, in everything we attempt with an innocent heart. If that is not possible, give us the strength to encounter what comes so  that we may be brave when in danger, reliable when in trouble, temperate when angry, and in all the changes of our fortune – even at the gates of death – loyal and loving to one to another.

Just like clay to the potter, or like a windmill to the wind, as Your children we beg You to help us and give us these mercies for Christ’s sake. Amen.”

© Laura Jane Cerling 1998

You can find other stories by Laura Jane Cerling in

My Roots Go Back to Loving and other stories from Year of the Family in the Bookstore

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