COME TO THE TABLE



The evergreens and lanterns lining the walk-way offered a warm-glow welcome to all who entered.  Once inside, A beautiful winter-wonderland beckoned us all…
COME TO THE TABLE and Celebrate….


Friendship
Family
Joy
Sharing
Merriment
Peace
Dreams
Tradition
Giving
Creation 
Stillness 
To the wife and mother who is really gifted at creating beautiful things, but struggles at the thought of a large gathering and people she doesn’t know,  she “just happens” to sit next to the woman who makes her feel at ease and joyful.  When the night is over, a kindred spirit has been found.  


To the young professional who thanks us for including her — she also “just happens” to sit next to the woman who offers her just what she needs.  Kindness and Passion for her profession!  She later sent me a note expressing, “it was incredible to sit at a table filled with such confident, inspiring women”.  

To the woman and friend who saw fit to fill a tin with cookies, and deliver it to a friend who couldn’t be there because she is often just physically unable to get out. 

To the coordinators of the event itself,  hard work is always rewarding when you get to see first hand so many expressions of awe and joy and wonder.  As a point person for the event, I received a lot of compliments and thanks.  BUT, I learned a long time ago, it isn’t about how good “I” can be, rather, it is about the amazingly good people surrounding me.  I am grateful for the love and thanks offered towards such a fine affair, but I am beyond grateful for all the ladies who collectively and sacrificially gave of their time, their resources and their talents.  To the hostess and the table setters, to the decorators and silver polishers, to the soup makers and the bread buyers, and ALL  who expressed their joy of the season thru making invitations and baking cookies to share…YOU are the amazingly good people around me.   
 As fulfilling as it is to create fun, festive, beautiful and delicious Christmas Cookies, it is really so much more than a cookie exchange.   In the celebration, whether simple or elaborate, in our own unique styles, we find community and connection, we inspire other women, and most importantly, those places in all of us that feel void or uncertain, are encouraged.  Something very special happens when we COME TO THE TABLE with an open and willing heart, ready to celebrate.    


This Christmas Season may you savor the goodness of all those cookies, but more importantly, may you savor the gifts in COMING TO THE TABLE.  


Merry Christmas
Crystal 

The Gift Of A Good Neighbor, And A Christmas Cup Of Tea.


As we packed the last of our belongings into the moving truck and pulled away, my heart flooded with so many wonderful memories of that great place, the neighborhood where we raised our family.  It would be easy to spend hours talking about all the wonderful memories made and times shared.    So very much goes into making a place great!  For me, the most important, is the people, the vibe of community that is shared, expressions of love and kindness and pulling together no matter what is going on.   For as long as I can remember, my life has been enriched by the gift of a good neighbor.  
Driving away  was like closing a chapter.  But, for every chapter we close, there is another to be opened.  How will I open it,  how will I write it, what sort of people and treasures would my new neighborhood hold?  

Me and my next door neighbor, Carol

    Six years have come and gone now and we’ve done life next door to each other.  Summertime walks, vases of flowers, a crockpot of soup after surgery, shoveling snow, a morning wave, late night visits, a genuine interest and care in every detail of life….graduations, weddings, sickness, health, jobs, joys, crisis, and lots of notes of encouragement just because.


Christmas is my favorite time of all, because no matter what is going on, no matter how busy or full our lives become, we ALWAYS manage to call a time out, share a Sunday afternoon cup of Christmas Tea, and give thanks for the simple pleasures, which really are the best gifts of all.   




                               

Genuine love revealed in both giving and receiving, through flesh and blood, kinduv like I believe it did on that first Christmas.  

                   CRYSTAL

Gifts of Thankfulness—-Oh So SWEET!

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones–Proverbs 16:24.  

A short, midweek, get-a-way to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, allows for some much needed down time. As friendship is shared,  and pleasant words exchanged…
my list of thankfulness is growing, and with it, plenty of sweetness to go around. 
550.   The lights and sights of the harbor by night. 

551.   Purple dragon boat rides in the harbor by day. 
552.   Hotel vending machines at midnight because the packed box of snacks isn’t accessible.   
553.   Conversations highlighting personal growth and rewards, through the rigors of ministry. 
554.   An open-mindedness—– no, it hasn’t changed “who” or “what” we are, but rather has shaped “how” we respond to the world around us. 
555.   Moments in life that keep us real…keep us grounded  (usually the less than perfect & humbling).
556.   Savoring “good food” moments in Little Italy (pizza and pastries and gelato galore)      
557.   $6.00 worth of cinnamon Jelly Belly’s, oh yeah!
558.   Favor upon a daughter’s honesty at a concert ticket booth (not during this trip, but worth noting).  
559.   Kodak moments that define a summer lived to the fullest.                                 
560.  Camaraderie with other pastor friends and their families.

     Pleasant words are a honeycomb–sweet to the soul and healing to the bones—speak them often.   And every now and again, on the way to 1000 gifts of thankfulness — eat your dessert, FIRST! 
                                                      CRYSTAL
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