Set the Table in September Participants

It was such fun to see all the different ways in which people participated in Set the Table in September by inviting family and friends to the table. Here are photos of some of the tables.  They range from a  meal for just two who are empty nesters to a birthday party on an island in Panama.  Some tables are simple and some more festive.  I was touched by the stories and the way each person put effort into reaching out and touching the life of someone else.  Thank you so much for participating.

The prize for the winners of the Set the Table in September contest is a set of little LED lights that are perfect for making a table centrepiece fun and festive.

We have two categories for the winners:

For the decorative table part of the contest, we (you actually) have selected Monique Cronk's table because the posting of the pictures of her table on Facebook had more interaction than any of the other posts.  People wanted to have copies of the recipes she used for her meal and commented on her bright and cheerful table. Monique, your gift will be arriving in the mail soon.

The second section of the contest was based on the story behind the table setting.  Gail Rudee has been gathering the family around the table for birthdays and Jewish holidays and inviting her mom-in-law, who lives in an Alzheimer's care facility to join the family. Gail shared how much her mom-in-law loves being with her three children and the rest of the family.  I have watched Gail grow in the area of hosting people since she began participating in the Heartistry challenges and I am proud of her.

Thank you to everyone who participated.  Your tables look so lovely. Keep setting the table and gathering friends and family to join you.  The memories you make will enrich your lives and last a life time.

Table Tales- The Story behind the Setting

I love pretty table settings.  I receive joy in creating prepared spaces into which to welcome family and friends. But more than the creative aspect of the table setting, I love being with those gathered. The stories of the people around the table are what move and inspire me to keep reaching out and inviting more people to fellowship around the table. Enjoy these settings (a few of the many events I have hosted at my home) and the small glimpse into the reasons for the gatherings.

We love celebrating Easter and it is a joy to gather people around the table.  We invite family, friends and strangers who have nowhere else to go. Sometimes I use paper plates and keep the table setting very simple; at other times I have gone to town with real grass down the middle of the table! (See previous post.)

This simple table setting was for a bridal shower for Jessica who lived with us for nine months leading up to her wedding. The most important part was the precious time of sharing and affirmation we had with this small group of women, each of whom was very special to Jessica.

This is a fall-themed dinner we hosted for newly married couples who were part of our non-profit organisation. We had officiated at the wedding for two of the couples and we wanted to have time to check in with them to see how they were doing in the first year of their married lives.  I served real pumpkins filled with vegetable curry and covered the tops with pastry.  It was a good idea, except each pumpkin could have fed  an entire family!

This is one of the many Thanksgiving meals we have hosted through the years.  We have always included friends who don't have family nearby and often strangers as well.  I love Thanksgiving, even though I was not born in the USA as I believe that being thankful for all God's blessings is such a powerful and important practice.

Every year we host a Staff Appreciation Dinner and I have used different themes for each dinner focussing on the best way to celebrate and recognise our amazing staff.  One year I did, "You are Treasure" and decorated the table to "jewels".  Brett always writes a personal affirmation for each person and then reads it to them.  He normally cries when reading it, which starts all of us off as well!

I hosted this dinner on Valentine's Day for one of the groups of people who gather regularly to pray for us and our ministry.  I wanted them to know how much we loved and appreciated them for their support. I have shared more about this Appreciation Dinner in a previous post.

I served this Tuscan style dinner on the back patio of the house we were renting for a group of business people from around the world at our Executive Intensive.  We were able to set it up without them seeing the table as the back deck was hidden away.  They were so surprised when they came around the corner and saw the table! I used bottles of olive oil as name cards.

We have a tradition of hosting a breakfast to celebrate and honour our staff on their birthday.  We spend time affirming them and enjoy the opportunity to relax together.  It is a very meaningful time. As you can see I have used paper plates to make the clean up easier, added candles and flowers from the garden to make it more festive.

We start our Repurposing Business Training with the Kickoff Weekend and a special dinner for those people who have flown in for the event.  I set up the table on the deck outside and we enjoyed a simple meal served on paper plates, with an amazing view.  The next photo shows how special it was at night when the little lights on the table added so much atmosphere.

Over two years ago we moved out of the house we were renting and put everything we owned into three storage PODS.  This group of people were just some of the amazing friends who came and helped us pack up our large home in the 10 days we had available to do it.  This is bitter sweet as I look forward to the day when my furniture is unpacked again and I can host people again; and I am so thankful that we can offer hospitality from the heart wherever we are.

It doesn't matter how simple your table setting is.  The important part is to reach out and invite family and friends to join you as you gather around the table for food and fellowship.

Commit to hosting someone in the next month.  The more you do it, the easier it gets.  Share your life with others in small ways and you will grow in generous living!