something sweet

Okay, if you haven't heard about my obsession with my family's famed "sweet dinner" then here's an introduction(previously: here and here and here). I wasn't super inspired to write a blogpost tonight, but then I received an email from Focus on the Family encouraging me to write an essay about my dinner table traditions as a tribute to my mom and I thought, why not?
So, below you will find the less than 250 word essay (with cheesiness to the MAX) about how my mom served up our dinners with heaping helpings of love. ;) The above picture is our most recent family Valentine's day (circa 2006?), but we are missing Samuel, Bethany, and half of mom's face.
Also, Mom: if I by chance win, they'll be calling you because they didn't have a space for international entries. :)
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Growing up on a small farm in rural Iowa, we were well accustomed to skimping. It just meant that the State Fair would be our family vacation, an understood one-gift Christmas expectation, and wearing hand-me-downs proudly.
My mother somehow managed to raise five children, complete the never-finished duties of farmwife, and (often in the midst of total chaos) do everything but skimp on such tantalizing spreads for dinner that all previous disagreements would subside after the prayer.
One meal in particular remains a favorite (apart from the charming and compulsory 'etiquette dinners'), so much so that I've duplicated it in several places I've lived since, giving my best effort to not skimp on the love my mom spread out so lavishly.
Valentine's Day, or Sweet Dinner as I affectionately call it, was not a day for special dates or sweethearts. Valentine's Day at the Nichols house was about love. The wonderful, true, dependable kind of love. Mom labored all day secretly in the kitchen (which itself is a feat with our curious fingers) and produced a table resplendent with pinks, reds, and candles aglow. We all received a personal poem, heart-shaped cake with pink frosting, and red-dyed tapioca pudding. Much fuss was made about the fine china (a wedding gift), which helped display the roast beef, carrots, and sweet corn (frozen from harvest). Without fail, discussion would turn to our love for one another.
When Jesus narrowed things down, He didn't skimp on love and my mother followed suit.
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PS: Mom, you should enter the contest too! How awesome would it be if we could have a Focus on the Family sponsored girls night! :)
.let LOVE FLY like cRaZY.