Last year, my one little word was celebrate, and it ended up being perfect for 2014. Sean and I had lived in our new city for about a year and a half, and had just begun to make friends. Not work-friends or family-friends but married couple friends. Seeing the importance of those new and growing relationships, I felt it laid on my heart that I should make an effort to embrace what we have and celebrate all the little things. Bonus that we could do that in community with like-minded couples.
We had also just moved into a new house, in time for the holidays, and our new space just shouted ‘entertain!’ We hosted an intimate family gathering on Christmas day, and I cooked a spread of breakfast for dinner with a frittata and rosemary potatoes, complete with coffee and baileys and mimosas. That’s when I knew what my word would be for 2014.
So last year, we hosted a lot of parties. We’ve always felt a unique version of happiness with a full house paired with delicious food, our people all around us, and last year we were able to open up our home more times than I can count. We hosted our small group – up to 20 people at times – on several occasions which always required snacks to share, threw the epic cinco de mayo fiesta, transformed our living room into Bria’s bridal shower bash, then celebrated our new dining table with a really lovely apple-themed dinner party (yes, really). We ended the year with a fabulous New Years’ Eve party, with most of our favorite people and memories to laugh about and build upon.
We learned so much in 2014, about hosting and entertaining and life in general. These days, hosting parties or events and cooking for a crowd is an easy feat… it’s something we love and enjoy. Naturally, we invite, cook, host, welcome and repeat. It’s our love language as a couple, and I could not be more blessed to realize it this early in our relationship.
As I hosted these parties and invited our friends over and made memories with them, and met new people and ate new recipes and fixed new drinks, I realized more and more that I wanted it to be less about me, less about my food and my cooking, and more about the people sitting at our table or around our fire pit or on the couch next to us. Feeling so blessed and full of love and joy in that year of celebrate, I felt a new hunger to let everyone who walked through our door know how much we love having them, how much they fill our world and home with life in a way I can hardly explain.
So this year, my word became engage. For so many reasons. As 2015 hits the halfway mark, I am realizing that one of the greater reasons that I received and declared that word on this year is because I want more of what happened last year in a deeper and more meaningful way. I want our friends and family to leave our parties and dinners and breakfasts feeling full and better, not because of us or dessert, but because of the way that God brought us together and filled our hearts during that time. I want each celebration to reveal more of God’s goodness through the people at the table.
I want to be intentional about opening our home, regardless of what’s going on and what we can or cannot serve, or how much food we have, or whether all of the ingredients are in fact organic. I want to invite more people and get to know them and take what celebrate gave to me and engage. I hope the time we spend with food and drink is more than bits on the table, and I hope our conversations and time together matters to them the way it does to me.
I’m a table person. All glory to God, I am a table person. And I am ever-so-thankful that other people like me exist and that they have created the IF:table concept. (The visionaries themselves explain it best here.)
If you aren’t a table person, I pray you have someone in your community that you can encourage to cook and open up their table. Sometimes a table person just needs a nudge (or three) to feel confident enough to start exploring and embracing their natural table person-ness.
For months, I’ve sort of pushed the idea of having my own IF:table to the back of my mind. But it kept coming up, in conversations with my sister, in social media and my own daydreams. I was dreaming about having a group of ladies at my table and sharing answers to conversation cards. And for some reason I stopped there.
One day, I opened Evernote on my phone to jot down a few names of women in my city that I would invite to my hypothetical IF:table. Only then, I realized I had at least a handful of friends, not zero like I thought.
Soon after that, I was just hanging out at a local farmers’ market with a longtime girlfriend and I brought it up to her. I shared the idea of the IF:table and she was interested. She said it sounded fun. She said she would come and even asked if they provide questions (the part I was most shy about) to discuss. Her interest and excitement made me really excited. That’s all I needed – the encouragement from a woman in my life – to invite a small group of girls to my table.
My first IF:table was this past Saturday. Four women joined me for lunch, and I can’t wait to share with you how it went.
Talk Back: Is there an idea or dream tugging on your heart? Tell us in the comments so we can encourage each other to step out in faith and see what happens!