Our home is full of people on Tuesday nights. F U L L !!! There are adults ranging in age from early 20s to 60+. There are littles running around our feet or being carried and bounced in our arms. There is food set out everywhere and all manner of mismatched dishes and tables and chairs. Our living room and kitchen are not really big, by American standards, but we are all squeezed in here and enjoying the weekly fellowship. There was a moment this week when Billy walked in the room and just stopped and stared at all that was happening, then he turned to me with the biggest smile and said, "This makes me happy. This is exactly what I hoped for."
We love building community around the table. The conversations ebb and flow during the evening and vary from the ridiculous and hilarious to discussing parenting to world issues to the deeply spiritual. We celebrate birthdays together, we make plates for each other's children, we grieve a broken relationship together, and ask how we can be helpful after an upcoming surgery. We're all over the place, but it is so, so good. We're doing life together. We're learning together. We are belly laughing together and working it out together, and sometimes crying together.
These people throw their arms around my daughter with giant bear hugs. They welcome her to the table as an equal, they ask her hard questions, they talk about aspirations with her, as well as show up to cheer for her at her competitions and show the kind of support that no one else can give. This is the kind of community that we have longed for.
We are not all alike. We are so very, very different. We are a mixed bunch of multigenerational, multicultural, multidenominational wanderers who have found a place at the table together. I am so thankful for this group - for this Tuesday chaos that is so beautiful and so tender, and also so crazy and so L O U D !
As we head into November and we focus on gratitude and the table, I'm deeply grateful for what God has brought to my kitchen and table - for these people he has placed in my life.
Enjoy this video entitled "The Guest List" and consider who might be a blessing at your table this season.
In my USA life, I was a teacher in Texas for 15 years. I was also a professional photographer, a soccer mom, a horsewoman, and the neighborhood hospitality queen. I did "Joanna Gaines farmhouse style" before Chip and JoJo were even a thing - we restored an 1884 Victorian farmhouse in small town Texas and did shiplap walls until I thought I'd go crazy. I taught at NASA, scuba dived with astronauts in training, and studied animals at Sea World for educational purposes. I've tried just about everything, because I have an insatiable need to know if I can do it! Never underestimate a Texas girl in cowboy boots!
In 2006, my husband Billy and I became cross-cultural workers (CCWs) with TMS Global. For five years, we served in three rural Quechua Wanca villages in the Andes of Peru. And when I say rural, I mean RURAL - like no potty! I spent my days in Peru learning to live a Quechua lifestyle in a rustic adobe house - cooking Peruvian foods, sewing with Quechua women, raising my chickens and goats and pigs, and planting my gardens. Now I live my life in small town Spain, serving other cross-cultural workers via teaching and training and care, and helping displaced people to navigate their new reality in Europe.
I'm passionate about fostering personal growth, growth in community, and growth in The Kingdom. Walking alongside others and helping them to use their unique design, their gifts and strengths and maximize their abilities to fulfill their God-given purpose - that's what makes my heart sing!