Of Friendships and Peanut Butter

She was the friend who invited me over for peanut butter and jelly one day.

Juggling our kids in the hallway after Thursday morning Bible study, she spontaneously invited my kids and I, and several other moms and kids, over for a spontaneous let’s-scrounge-up-and-share-whatever-food-is-available-lunch. Over peanut butter and grape jelly, we smoothed toddlers’ faces, nursed babies, and poured endless tin cups of milk and water. Her dining room and kitchen were deliciously lived in, and she welcomed us into her life and home, teaching me mounds about true hospitality. Moms and kids were welcomed, safe; crumbs were allowed; and our conversations flowed long that afternoon.

Today she drove here under gloomy clouds, pulling a trailer behind her. Despite an ominous sky, the websites cheerily announced a scant ten percent chance of precipitation. Two daughters piled out, clambering up my steps, and racing comfortably into the house. My youngest ones were happy for companionship too.

We poured hot coffee, pulling wooden chairs close to talk over kids and toys. Peering out the windows we worried about rain.

“Will your bookshelves be okay? Do you have tarps?”

The last of our belongings were coming home today, if the thunderstorms would hold off long enough. Grey skies suddenly split and the rain smashed loud against the deck and house.

“Do you have a bit of leeway?” I wondered. “Can we wait ten minutes to see if it clears?” We checked storm radar websites, guessing at the duration.

Fifteen minutes later, in a lull, we dashed across the yard to her truck. Soaking wet, we clinked seatbelts and turned on the vents. “Everything we do together becomes an adventure,” she laughed.

Two hours later, I hugged her, and she drove away. Raindrops were evaporating off my bookshelves, but they were safely home.

During some time in God’s word last week, I came across an NIV study note that grabbed my attention. Being a language lover, the Latin interpretation of a word struck me. Did you know that “companion” means “with bread”? Your friends and family, the people you do life with, that come “with bread” — cum panis –those are your companions.

Who are your “with bread” people? Which of the people in your life take time to do life together, to invite you over for coffee or peanut butter sandwiches, or who linger to talk long?

It makes me ponder where am I doing life “with bread” as well? Who am I being intentional about doing life with?

It takes time. It takes effort, but it’s worth it. So, this week, this summer, pause with me… Don’t worry about the state of your home, and look at the people around you. Who can you invite over for peanut butter and grape jelly? Where can you drive a trailer, or invite kids over for an afternoon, and do life “cum panis,” as companions?

Had you heard this interpretation before? How are you intentional about building companions? Who is someone who has embodied this to you?

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  1. JoeKarenfamily on July 19, 2012 at 5:13 am

    Misty has done this for us, invited us over for pb&J and it's a moment I treasure!

  2. LOLITA on July 19, 2012 at 6:34 am


    Thank you so much for giving us the origin of the word companion.

    Isn't it such a great thing to have "cum panis" people in our life? We do a lot of things together and always, we share meals too, as in plenty of church fellowships.

    I'm glad you have some around you, Jen.

  3. Brian Miller on July 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    having people like that in our life is pretty amazing…and at times when we do not, it is sorely missed….a good friend of mine just moved yesterday across the US…he was that for me…and i am missing him quite a bit right now…

  4. Pam on July 19, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    I LOVE that meaning… now that you say it, it makes sense (with my little knowledge of studying Spanish – cum panis). Thanks for sharing that. Sweet story…good friends. Thanks for sharing it! Yes, I'm grateful for such friendships.

  5. Pam on July 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Hi again, Jennifer,

    Just wanted to let you know that I just wrote a post that refers my readers to your cum panis post! 🙂

  6. Jennifer Dougan on July 21, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Hi Pam,

    I'm honored. Thanks. It's such a great word picture, isn't it?

    Have a great week, friend.


  7. Jennifer Dougan on July 21, 2012 at 5:37 pm


    She is so good at that, isn't she?

    Thanks for stopping by here. 🙂


  8. Jennifer Dougan on July 21, 2012 at 5:38 pm


    Those "with bread" –doing life companions– are wonderful, huh? It convicts me to want to do better at that myself.

    You and my other blogger friends are some of those "with bread" people now too. We do life together through online community, sharing life honestly and openly.

    Have a great week.


  9. Jennifer Dougan on July 21, 2012 at 5:42 pm


    I'm sorry about your friend moving away. That changes things and is hard; and normal to grieve. I understand.


  10. Diane Ronzino on July 21, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Thank you for sharing that meaning. Wow…

    If I could, I would have my Circle of Sharing from my blog to dine on peanut butter and jelly with me!

    Love this post, Jennifer!

  11. Brian Miller on July 21, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    it does change things…there is the loss of the person…but then the loss of the role in your life as well…will make it though…smiles.

  12. LOLITA on July 23, 2012 at 9:28 am

    So much, Jen.

    I have been partaking from your table. And am enjoying them immensely, dripping with the blackberry jam filling and all.

    Thank you for sharing your life to us, cum panis.

    I realize it that even over the net, we are breaking bread together.

  13. Rachel on August 6, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    This was an awesome post! I love that through the beginning description it sounds so laid back and fun.

    It's good to have cum panis friends…and cum panis aunts, too. =)


  14. Jennifer Dougan on August 7, 2012 at 2:59 am


    I like sharing life "with bread" with you as well, my sweet! 🙂

    Thank you.


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