open wide your cupboards

open wide your cupboards


I have a thing about dishes.

Just open my cupboards or observe my smile

whenever I use one of  my grandmother’s favorite serving dishes.

If those tidbits aren’t enough to

verify my dish passion obsession,

I even wrote about worrying about bowls

a year ago.

For Mother’s Day, Carl gave me the set of dishes I had

been spying.

They aren’t fine china, I’m talking Target,

which is more my style.

The set of dishes simply made me smile.

Plus the bowls were deep and wide just the way

Carl likes them.

Our everyday dishes had been held in the clutches

of young fumbling fingers

and taken countless tumbles to the floor,

contents ruined but never the plates.

The virtues of unbreakable dishes is undeniable

but the appearance doesn’t exude a lot of joy.

Hooray for new plates, cups and bowls.

Yet a week later the box sat in the corner



I wasn’t sure where to put them.

Each time I opened a cupboard, I was faced

with removing dishes already occupying

shelf space.

For the most part, each plate, bowl or mug

no matter its condition held meaning and a memory.

Dishes are meant to be filled and emptied.

Each one reminded me of past feasts and perhaps

even some times of famine.

Are there relationships sitting on your life shelf

 solely as memories?

Is it time to gently lift them from the shelf

and store them away for a time?

My unbreakable dishes served their purpose for

a time and I honor all the hard knocks they took

at the hands of our family.

I am thankful for the way they supported my food 😉

At this moment,

for whatever reason,

these dishes rarely grace my table.

At this moment.

For now, I will carefully store them away.

Finally I opened the box.


I suds away

the grime of the packaging.

Then set them out to dry.


I looked at the wooden rack full of stoneware.

I wondered,

“Do these  dishes look like me?”

“Do they look unsophisticated?”

“Would I see these plates in _____________’s house?”

There are times when I second guess myself.

Often I fall into the trap of believing I must look like everyone else.

The truth is my plates are different from yours because

they are designed for my table,

my house,

my life.

Do your dishes look like you?

And while I am asking all these questions,

what’s on your plate?

Could there be so many servings the

image on the surface is obscured?

Will any sudden movement cause the contents of your mug

to splash over the rim?


Are you realizing my dish craze is really more about being

crazy about life?

The plates you like,

the plates you share and the morsels you

decide to place upon those plates is true of life.

Life is about filling and emptying.


In our home, we are determined to use our stuff.

It hasn’t always been this way,

observe Exhibit A.

I am changing.

We are using and filling our plates.

Even when Caleb asks,

“Where are the old, easy to carry plates?”

(Trust me, they are still close at hand.)

We are slurping out of cups and bowls.

We are reaching towards the dishes on our shelves,

scattering them on tablecloths

so they can be






and the cycle


We risk the occasional chipped or broken dish,

much like we enter the fray of life each day.

We aren’t  saving these dishes for special occasions or only for the special people.

We are the special people and when you cross our threshold we deem

you special as well.

We embrace the old and are grateful for the new.

One day the new will become old as well,

old doesn’t have to mean covered in dust,

it should convey constant use and affection.

Open the cupboards of your life and take a peek.

What makes you smile?

As silly as it may sound,

what bowl is deep and wide like you?

What needs to be taken off your plate?

Now gather around your table and don’t miss

this wonderful feast called life.

6 thoughts on “open wide your cupboards

  1. Hey Jody (oh funny I just saw your email address…I love it!)
    Thanks fellow dish lover!
    You are definitely one special person.
    Blessed to know you!


  2. Cornelia,
    I know that your kids are going to tell so many
    memories of shared meals as well as all the adventures
    you all take. You are a master of living life to the fullest
    and making people feel special.
    Thanks for reading friend!


  3. Thanks for sharing this Kayla. I can visualize the image of the
    vitamins and pills being tucked under the side of the plate.
    Gosh, I think I have that same image tucked away.
    I am glad I am not the only one who appreciates the passing
    down of a history of dishes.
    Loved your reflections!


  4. Helen, the metaphor here is so powerful….especially the one about being ’emptied and filled’. I also like your point about ‘we are the special people.’ Sometimes we limit the beauty of a table setting for ourselves because ‘we’re not worth it’ (or whatever silly thought we have.)

    I love dishes, too…and enjoyed reading this very much.


  5. I’ve had the same dishes for seventeen years! I was going through a country decorating phase when Brett and I got married, but I never changed them out as we grew up in our marriage. I grew up in the country. Those plates with the plaid apples remind me of my roots, of family. This winter, my grandma passed and I inherited her pyrex serving collection. Those dishes make me smile. The slightly faded, yet still clear colors remind me of sitting at Grandma’s 50’s style table, Grandpa’s vitamins and medicine pills tucked under the edge of his plate. Goodness, I could go on for days. Apparently I’m more attached to my dishes than I thought. Thank you for this wonderful, reflective post.


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