Start your own Friendship Brunch!

I don’t remember when I first started this, but I believe I lived in Seattle, which means my friendship brunch started in the roaring Nineties. A friend of mine had created her own yearly brunch with friends, and I had the privilege of being a part. When life moved on, I decided to follow her inspiration.

So every year around Christmas time, I invite friends to a brunch. This year was my biggest yet, with 14 guests. I had to add a table onto my table to make everyone fit. But it was worth it.

Why? Because there are just so few moments we take these days to celebrate friendship, to ask good questions, and to share our hearts. I started by telling everyone how I knew each person. (I was the common denominator of all the women, so it was fun to share how I met each one.) It was interesting to see how the stories interconnected. Some of us went to the same church. Some of us met when my husband was in seminary. Several of the friends had actually visited us when we lived in France. All of the women have prayed for our family in different, cool ways.

The next question I asked was, “From what you’ve gone through this last year, what one thing do you want to do differently next year? In other words, what did you learn and what do you want to put into practice?”

Mine? I’ve seen how this year has pummeled me, how it’s taken away my verve and guts. So next year instead of letting hard news plunge me into instant despair, this year I want to be more positive. Lord help me!

One friend shared how she wanted to be less cynical about what God could do. Another said she’d like to really live the words she said. Around the table we shared. And we opened gifts (my favorite part). I gave each friend a mug from Dayspring with a birdie in the bottom of the mug to greet them when they finished their morning coffee. I’d show you a picture, but they no longer carry it. Here’s a similar one.

And then I had one more gift. It was my Picture of the Year, the one God gave me to show me this was to be a year I learned abundance.

I’d had it mounted on canvas and placed it in my office to remind me of the word folks kept saying over and around me. Funny how things didn’t feel quite so abundant this year. And yet, my heart is full.

As I was wrapping my birdy mugs, I spied the picture, and I heard that still, small voice. “Give that picture to Twilla,” He said. Of all the people in my life who exemplifies abundance, it’s her. She’s been battling against aggressive cancer, but still finds time to encourage anyone she meets. She feeds the homeless. She loves her family and friends. She prays. She is amazing.

So after everyone opened their mugs, I told folks the story of my picture, the word, and that I had another gift to give. I handed a package to Twilla, but before I could, she hugged me tight. Tears (I’ve seen so few in this battle) sprang beautifully. I so wanted her to know what a blessing she’s been this year in my life, how she’s taught me abundance.

I’ll close with some pictures of our time together. If something like this freaks you out over the holidays, choose a different time. A Valentine’s brunch? An Easter dessert? A summer potluck? Just take the initiative to bless your friends, to speak encouragement over their lives, to fill their cups. You will be changed, and you’ll change their world for the better.

I cut up copies of Daisy Chain (an ARC, Advance Reader Copy) to make snowflakes!

I decided for a green, black and white theme this year, with lots of chalkboard paint and chalk details. I wrote the menu on a long board I had that I’d painted with chalkboard paint. The name tags were cardstock with the same paint, and names written in chalk. I strung snowflakes from dried/dead branches to make a centerpiece, and added some tall wrought iron candle sticks with green and white candles to round it out. I think it turned out well. :)

  • Elizabeth Ann

    Beautiful. Thanks for the lovely idea!

  • Connie Welch

    Thanks Mary for the beautiful inspiration! I hosted a Christmas Tea for many years and my husband even joined in and played the Butler! Great post~

  • Kim Galgano

    6 years ago I dreamed of women taking time out for themselves and began doing CoffeeHouse Chats out of a small room in the church. Those core group of women who attended were sitting at my table today celebrating our friendship and support for each other over the years. As women we get so wrapped up in day to day life that we forget those friendships is the fuel that keeps us going! So glad you were blessed by your friendships and that you blessed so many women with yours.

  • Julie Sunne

    Wow, what a neat idea. It is a wonderful way to bless friends. I may need to plan an annual friend brunch–or maybe just try one first (I tend to bite off more than I can chew). Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Kristin Early

    Dear, dear Mary … thank you so much for sharing you table with me and these lovely ladies. The decorations, the food, the gift … all amazing but the bigest blessing was how you, our common denominator, reminded us of the power of friendship and the joy that comes from our shared faith. A million hugs and I pray for an amazing 2013 for you and yours :-)

  • Debbie Hannah Skinner

    Mary, thanks for sharing this. I used to co-host a fun friendship soup luncheon like this with my dear friend, Donna. Then we both got busy… and she got cancer. When she died 2 years ago, it really kicked the wind out of my sails regarding girlfriend get togethers and I have not done one since. Your beautiful table, creative touches (love the chalkboard paint and the green and black palette) inspire me to do this again. It won’t be until after January, but it will happen. Thanks for the creative inspiration. (((hug))) I continue to pray for your precious Julia.

  • abbysnews

    That’s so awesome!

  • Sandra Glahn

    It was a feast of love, food, and beauty. Honored to be included. Love you!

    • Mary DeMuth

      Love you too, friend.

  • Gail @GodGirlGail

    “From what you’ve gone through this last year, what one thing do you
    want to do differently next year? In other words, what did you learn and
    what do you want to put into practice?” Excellent question for all of us! I’ve learned that if I pray for a miracle, He can make it happen. I pray for this or that and hope for the best. I’ve now learned to EXPECT the miracle. Not always on my timetable but always on His merciful timetable.

    • Mary DeMuth

      Yes, and sometimes waiting is HARD.

  • Wendy Blackwell

    You inspire me, Mary. I am having visions of spring, outdoor table, flowers and beautiful friends. Thank you for sharing!

    • Mary DeMuth

      Yes, that would be lovely!

  • Anne Mateer

    It is one of the highlights of my year, dear friend! Your gift of hospitality allows us to receive the gift of friendship with women we might otherwise never meet. :)

    • Mary DeMuth

      Thanks so much. :)

  • annepeterson

    Mary, I so long to open my home. With everything I had gone through with my sister I just haven’t fully connected to life in some areas. Hearing about your friend who has battled cancer was very encouraging to me. I long for is what you described, even on a small scale. I want to open our home. Pray I don’t let the insufficiencies stop me. For I’ve seen God work before even when you have little to offer, the point is to offer.

    • Mary DeMuth

      Just time for tea with a friend is encouragement enough. :)

  • Leah Adams

    What a marvelous idea!! It blesses others and helps us to see past ourselves…sometimes I really need that reminder. I may try this at Valentines! Thanks for the post.

    • Mary DeMuth

      Be sure to post pictures. :)