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.