Restaurants cement milestones in our lives while celebrating important events. In Revived Hope, I set Melanie in a restaurant that I named The Cliff House. I described it as a Five-Star establishment overlooking the Pacific Ocean with a view of Catalina. There are many of those restaurants along our coast. In fact, I discovered one called the Cliff Restaurant Bar and Grill, after I wrote the book. And I thought I was original. But nothing is new under the sun, right?
The restaurant that really inspired me was Las Brisas in Laguna Beach. It’s been years since I’ve been there, and the shock of the menu prices (at least for me), kept me from taking my husband there for lunch, both for this blog and his birthday. Instead, we walked around and snapped lots of pictures of Las Brisas, the inspiration for The Cliff House in Revived Hope.
When I think back on momentous times, they’re often associated with a restaurant. A bittersweet memory took place forty-eight years ago when I broke off an engagement with my fiancé. I even gave him back the diamond ring. I was nineteen years old. He was twenty-one. But he convinced me to have dinner with him one more time. He drove me to our special spot in Seal Beach, The Sand Castles. It was a little seafood and steak restaurant we discovered when we were first dating. I’m so glad he remembered and took me back there. God’s been very gracious, and we’re celebrating forty-seven years of marriage this November!
In Revived Hope, Melanie has a bittersweet moment too, at The Cliff House. She’s meeting a client there following a slew of tragedies in her life. Oh my, I get a little teary-eyed remembering when I first wrote that scene. I hope it will touch your heart as well and that you will be encouraged to trust in the Lord in your most difficult trials. Much like Melanie is learning to do. We are all a work in progress, aren’t we?
In my first novel, Shattered Guilt, Book 1 of The Bay Town Series, Melanie, Lacey, and Chris (Melanie’s ex-husband) go to dinner at the Manière’ Sisters Restaurant. It was a genuine restaurant, not fictional like The Cliff House. But it existed many years ago in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, where I lived as a child. That eatery was a weekly family favorite, and I liked it so much that I featured it in next year’s Bay Town Book 2, Restored Grace. Here’s a link to an earlier fun post about the Manière’ Sisters Restaurant.
When I finished Shattered Guilt and wrote “The End,” we celebrated at another coastal restaurant near us. Hubby ordered lobster, and I ordered a salad. He likes to celebrate with food.
I could go on and on, and I imagine you can too. There’s just something fun, magical, and romantic about certain restaurants. It’s like our hearts are tied there.
OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE
Whether we’re celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, or a milestone, restaurants are much like a lighthouse guiding the way for people to rekindle hope, love and security in one another. I get pretty excited about meeting up with friends and family for a special occasion outside of the house. I do love family dinners at home, but there’s something magical in a public celebration.
It’s also another opportunity to share the love of Christ through our actions. By celebrating milestones, we give God all the glory for His amazing gifts. Whether in private or public, our family gives thanks before every meal. As most all of us do. I remember recently when I was so touched by seeing a family with young children giving thanks publically. I quietly told them how blessed I was to see their family praying together. Their smiles were priceless.
But still, in public, when our family prays, we try to be discreet. Not to hide our faith, but we don’t want to be like the pharisee praying in the temple! (Luke 18:9-14). However, it’s difficult not to draw attention to ourselves as we bow our heads and pray because, with our large family, the restaurant usually sets up long tables center stage. So we try and pray quickly and quietly.
That doesn’t always happen, and such was the case with a nephew who doesn’t profess Christ. He was out with my kids (all adult children) late one evening, and when the food came, my son said, “Let’s pray.” My nephew stopped everyone , and much to the delight of the group, he invited the server to join them in praying for the food. Evidence of God’s amazing hands at work in the hearts of all.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT MEMORY?
I’d love to hear about your favorite restaurant, or better yet, your celebration at one. Hang on to those memories and those relationships. It isn’t always easy, but celebrations are important to hold us together. God created us for relationships, didn’t he? Just as Jesus cultivated His friendships with the apostles. They may not have celebrated in restaurants, but that Last Supper upstairs was one special place. It’s one we’ll all remember. A blessed reminder of what’s to come for us in heaven one day. Can you imagine those shared meals we’ll have with the King of Glory.? Whoa!
I hope you’ll relish remembering happy celebrations while continuing to make new memories. It doesn’t have to be at a fancy restaurant, especialy with the grandskids.
Today’s giveaway is a $25 Chick-fil-A Gift Card. If you win, be sure and take a friend or family member and celebrate something. God bless you, and please join me here tomorrow. Just two more days of On Location!