October 17, 2017

Meal Time Magic: the Joy of an Unexpected Blessing


Make Family Meal Time a Priority
Gather Together over a Shared Meal
The Importance of Family Meal Time
Laugh More, Laugh Loud
Creating Ambiance through Candle Light around the Dinner Table

Gathering together around a shared family meal is an intentional measure that we prioritize. The above phrases sprinkled throughout my blog are ones I believe in whole heartedly, yet different seasons of the year allow for more regularity with those planned times. Crazy schedules are no substitute for the meal time magic that occurs when friends and family gather.

Sometimes though, that meal time magic comes in the most unexpected ways. Joy is shared through one of God’s chosen blessings to minister to a weary soul when she most needed it.

Last night, the Clean Plate Club was demonstrated on a whole new level, and my precious, nephew Edison took leadership by making sure that everyone joined in under his tutelage.  Round and round the table he went, inspecting with such detailed observation that any Staff Sergeant would be proud. No scraps could be left, and licking of the plate was encouraged.

Upon his approval, the clean plate would be held high for all to see,  followed by cheers, applause and giggles to rival any Superbowl festivities.

I shared a bit of his garbage bag story last year in my post, Why Adopt a Special Needs Child. I summarized just a bit of his first life chapter, and since then every page turned in this story continue to whisper God’s grace in miraculous ways.  When most people question my brother and sister-in-love’s  decision, I’m remembered of my brother’s words,

Many people have told me, as the provider for this family of now 11 children, that I am crazy to adopt another. I respond to them that, actually, this little boy with Downs Syndrome is a critical, strategic part of my estate plan.
You see, my wife Rachel and I wanted to place an emblem of the prize in the fight for ‘The Culture of Life’ right in the middle of our family – a remarkably special person who would speak into the lives of our children and others we meet.

And that is what this little boy now is.

The most precious of meal times


Since Edison lives next door to us on our homestead, he radiates joy to us on a daily basis. He reminds me of how unconditional love ministers to a weary soul. He shows an unlimited amount of acceptance to every one with whom he comes into contact. He has never met a stranger, and if you don’t mind a messy face, he will shower you with hugs when your soul most needs it.

He knows what it means to give….

And our culture  thinks this child is “Less than, not perfect, or ‘retarded.'”

Whose views are truly skewed?

To live a life fully at peace. To minister to those around without selfishness. To never look at a clock and worry about time. To embrace the moment. To make Meal Time Magic every single night…

My desire?

To learn half of what this blessing has to teach me. That is living a life with intention.

More posts from that life changing trip to get Edison….Meeting this sweet blessing for the first time , Saving Money by Learning to Negotiate, Waiting, Tasty Tuesday South American Style


  1. what a beautiful post!!!


  2. Incredible post–totally wiping the tears from my eyes! Your brother’s heartfelt comments about Edison are an amazing way to look at his choice and puts common stereotypes on their ear. Yea!


  3. Wow. I’m Speechless. Wow.


  4. I feel the same way about my special nieces with Down’s – 2 of whom were adopted. What a special, special gift they are!


  5. What an AMAZING story! I’m newer to your blog so I went and read your previous posts on this story, just wonderful!!


  6. Wonderful and heart touching post Jen. It is so good to hear more about your precious nephew…I was wondering how he was doing…looks like he fits right in with the rest of the family by looking at the smiles and love on everyone’s faces. 🙂 I have always believed that the extra chromosome that causes Down’s Syndrome was just an extra measure of unconditional love that God has blessed some wonderful people with. 🙂

    Much love and blessings!


  7. Theresa says:

    I didn’t know the “backstory” of Jim and Rachel’s adoption of Edison till today, and am very moved after reading this post and previous one. Not normal for me these days, but right now I’m a giant puddle of tears here. Thanks for sharing!


  8. Absolutely precious. I’ve loved following along with Edison’s story. He is just adorable. 🙂


  9. Beautiful. I’m always amazed at the joy that “special” kids bring. We have 2 kids with Down Syndrome at our church and they are loved by everyone.

    I came across this quote recently and loved it.
    If Down syndrome is a disease then the world needs to catch the symptoms and spread them quickly — unconditional love, purity, innocence, honesty, and an incorruptible spirit of Light! —Kurt Kondrich, (dad of Chloe, age 7, who belongs to the race that knows Love)


  10. That is such a sweet post. My husband has an aunt with Down’s syndrome and she is a blessing to our family.


  11. Sue@housepretty.com says:

    Oh, my, did I cry! God bless your nephew. What a precious gift!


  12. THERESA E says:



  13. Patty Marsh says:

    Jen, this made me cry. I consider myself so blessed to be a fairly regular receiver of those messy hugs and, on occasion, even kisses. Some would say that those who love Eddie are ministering to someone with “special needs,” but I, in fact, am the needy one who Eddie ministers to. Beautiful post!


    Jen Reply:

    You definitely are the recipient of those special kisses from that precious guy. 🙂 We are blessed by the VE’s faithfulness.


  14. Debbie burgess says:

    We recently lost a close family member who was born with Downs 47 years ago…. I cannot put into words how truly special she was to our family…. A true Blessing from God! She was the most loving person I have ever known…..and if I could be half the person she was I would feel blessed. She taught us so much over the years, acceptance, unconditional love, forgiveness…..among many other things. To know someone with Downs is a true gift in itself but to be blessed to have that person in your family is the BesT!


    Jen Reply:

    I am so sorry for your loss, Debbie. You are so right on every, single point. What a privilege and joy to have been shown such unconditional love and joy through them.


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