About 10 days ago, I hosted an (in)RL gathering at my church. It was part of a whirlwind weekend that included a whole lot more work than usual (tweeting on behalf of (in)courage until I was literally dizzy from switching from screen to screen!) and a rehearsal for Listen to Your Mother (a performance that I’ll tell you about in a few days!!). And it came just before an incredibly busy week that also included a trip out of town for the Orange Conference (I’ll get to that in a couple days, too – SO MUCH TO TELL YOU ABOUT.).
So, I was busy. And I was stressed. I was overwhelmed, and tears may have been involved. Because, as much as I have to tell you about this week, there’s plenty of stuff that takes up my time and energy that isn’t necessarily blog-post-worthy or, in some cases, blog-post-ready. But despite my internal and external chaos, the three hours I spent with a group of women discussing community and story and relationships and LIFE were lovely. Here’s a peek into our party:
We had lots of yummy food (partially thanks to my brother, who I’ve already requested to write another recipe post for us. Because the brownies he made? DELISH. And not from a box mix, which he so kindly pointed out. To me. Who makes brownies from a box mix.).
I mostly stuck to a simple chips and salsa (and cheese dip) theme, with chocolate graham crackers and this frosting-turned-dip. James made the aforementioned brownies and some chicken tortilla rollups, and I (of course) poured bowls of M&Ms for each table.
I kept the decorations simple, too. After announcing that I’d give away these cute DaySpring mugs to everyone who RSVP-ed (a lost art, have you noticed?), I decided to stick with the red, white and turquoise theme. Since red and turquoise are my favorite colors, it wasn’t a hard choice. And plain tablecloths and paper goods were dressed up with a few daisies stuck into these Redeemed vases from DaySpring (which I gave away to one person at each table).
I also gave away a few books (by Crystal Paine, Tsh Oxenreider and Shauna Niequist), a set of Lyrics for Life plaques (word art with lyrics from hymns and worship songs), my favorite scarf and necklace from DaySpring, and these fun water bottles.
My mini-hostesses (Annalyn and Madison, who is both my friend’s daughter and my daughter’s friend) helped me draw names and hand out prizes. (They also welcomed people as they arrived and directed them to the sign-in table. They were so excited to help, and I was so happy to have them there!)
Most importantly of all, we had stories and we had friendship. It was good to be (in) real life.
Did you host or attend an (in)RL gathering? When do you get together with your friends in real life?
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chips and brownies and book giveaways – sounds like my kind of gathering! :-)
Mary, your story was one that touched me deeply. Thank you so much for sharing!
Your giveaways were awesome! My husband has been assigned to a rural church in south central MO starting this summer and we are very interested in the Orange curriculum! I’ll be excited to read your post about it.
Go Mary! Amazing that you can get all those things done. I didn’t have the courage or the gumption to do the In real life gathering this year. BUT I do make it a very big point to get together with my real girlfriends often and be sure we all stay in touch. =)
It wouldn’t be a party hosted by Mary without those tortilla rolls. ;) Sounds like things are busy in a good way for you! And that pic of Annalyn and her friend is adorable. :)
Annalyn and Madison were great “mini-hostesses”! My red, white and turquoise Dayspring mug is hanging up in my kitchen. Mary, thank you for your hospitality. I can’t wait to do it again :)
I loved your church event. I held a meeting in my house on Friday and aired some parts of the conference. On Saturday, I was by myself. I’m using your event at church to organize myself for next year. I already have a meeting to happen soon between me and the leader to the women’s ministry. The financial part was a struggle for me and personal funds came after the conference. What I’m have in mind is to get the church’s coffee and bookstore involved.
I loved this mother conference.