This past Monday night Jeanetta and I were invited to the home of Sarah Frost, one our of very favorite costumers from our Shoppe days, so that I could share the story of A Homemade Year with her and a group of her friends called the Doodles. We were invited to share the evening with this group of friends who meet once a month for dinner, sharing, occasional crafting and cooking and other various adventures. The eight gals take turn hosting and there is always a theme to the evening- which is often a surprise! Monday's theme was "Back to School." This was the perfect theme because a)School started for most districts in our area that day and b)Several of the gals are school teachers. Sarah herself just retired this year after 32 years teaching.
Sarah's house is adorable, classic, fun, and a great mix of new and old. The house is a new build in an adorable little "village" style neighborhood. Sarah and her husband Jack did a great job creating a home that feels timeless despite it's newborn status by using all sorts of vintage and unexpected fixtures and treatments. Even though I was at Sarah's house to share, I felt as if I was really there to learn. To listen.
I am going to share all the photos I snapped with my phone of Sarah's adorable house, but I also want to talk about the all the goodness and wisdom that Sarah and her friends passed on to Jeanetta and I that night. Because I think you will love them as much as I did.
(Light fixture made from Sarah's grandmothers egg basket)
1) It Keeps Getting Better
A few weeks ago I was able to go and participate in the Wild Goose Festival, and while I was there I got to hear Glennon Melton speak twice. I knew some of Glennon's story, but I have not been an avid reader of hers until now. Glennon is on a 40 day media fast, but this week she had her sister put up a post for her on her blog where she says "it's gets better!" She is talking to mother's of babies and toddlers and preschoolers who are drowning in midnight feedings, diapers, ear infections, the constant need for sippy cup refills and complete meltdown fits in the middle of Target. Glennon's youngest child started school this week and she is giving a shout out of hope that if the baby/toddler stage isn't your favorite, just hang in there - it will get better.
Sometimes Jeanetta and I look at each and wonder if we will ever get to do all the creating and traveling we dream of. Will we ever have the energy to throw the sort of gathering that Sarah threw. Will we have weekends to spend trekking all over Texas in search of the perfect kitchen table. Will our kitchens ever stay clean?
Monday night I think we got a little glimpse into our future, and y'all, it looked oh so lovely.
It makes it a little easier to just rest and enjoy this stage with our kids and hang in there as we juggle their busy big-kid schedules and changing emotional needs. Just having a small taste of the next season of our life is a comfort for those frustrating days when we want to toss everyone out the window and lock the doors.
(Sarah and her friends found this vintage school table in Canton, TX.
There are three drawers on each side. Isn't it the best?)
2) Start Something
Towards the end of 2009, Doodle member Pattie decided that she wanted to do something in the next decade to "become a better woman." So she gathered some friends - some who knew each other and some who didn't - and asked them if they wanted to form a group who would meet monthly to learn, encourage, create and share with each other. In essence she formed what I call "intentional friendships." She had the courage to step out and invite others into her life in a way that was very purposeful. She and the other Doodles made a commitment to each other to meet once a month, to walk through life together.
If you read this blog ( if you read A Homemade Year) regularly, then you know how I have a thing for intentional friend groups. That I believe strongly in stepping out of my comfort zone in pursuit of community. I love that Pattie decided to do this as well. Sometimes friendship groups sort of spontaneously form, but more often then not, they have to be intentionally created and this means someone has to be the one to step up and invite others into community.
I also love that Pattie challenged herself. That she wanted to "do something to make myself a better woman." How brave and kind she was in this. And I am pretty sure that each of the Doodles would agree that this group has made each of them a better woman.
(party favors of homemade jelly!)3) Keep Learning
For some of the gals gatherings they give each other lessons. Cooking lessons, canning lessons, stamping lessons. Sometimes they have other people come in and teach them things. I love this. I have a hard time being teachable (just ask Sweet Man.) I hate looking stupid. I like to figure things out on my own, with no one watching. Of course there is tons of research to support that people learn better in groups. That encouragement and healthy competition is good for learning. I want to be like the Doodles. I want to keep learning and I want to be willing to do it, even if it makes me look silly or goofy or just plain inept, in front of my friends. Because really, who better to fail in front of then the very people who will help pick you up, laugh it off, and start again?
4) Keep Creating
The Doodles are so creative. And listening to them talk you could tell that this is something that help encourage in each other. Sarah is a grandmother but her house is still so fresh and vibrant and full of things that are "out of the box" design wise. She is changing and creating and experimenting and stretching herself still. I want to be like that no matter my age, no matter my situation.
5) Laughter Never Goes Out of Style
We should never feel that we are too old, too mature, too cool, too sophisticated, or too pious to laugh. Really, really laugh. Laugh till we cry. Laugh all together. Laugh at ourselves. Put down the phone, the tablet, the computer, your cynicism, your expectations, your disappointments, and look up. Look into the faces around you. Listen to their stories. Tell your own stories. And laugh. A lot.
(map from Contented Sparrow)
6) Be a Cheerleader
We cannot fix other peoples marriages, heal their children, pay off their debt, cure addictions. But we can cheer them on as they work these things out. We can tell them that they are strong enough, brave enough, tender enough, smart enough, beautiful enough. kind enough, tough enough. We can tell them that they are enough just as they are. We can tell them that we will be here the whole time. That we are not going anywhere while they walk through the fire. That we will walk beside them and whisper reminders of their enough-ness in their ears when they forget.That we will move boxes, and wipe tears, and break plates on the cold hard concrete if that is what will help. That we will stand on top of desk and tables and hilltops and roofs and shout Friend, My Friend, if that is what is required of us.
(Sarah's jellies and jams. She hadn't put them up yet because "they look so pretty when the light comes in!")
Jeanetta and I both loved getting to spend the evening with these lovely gals so very much. We both felt so inspired, encouraged, and loved on the entire evening. Through encounters like these I continue to be reminded that there is such wisdom in the generations ahead of us, and I am trying to do a better job of being on the lookout for it. I may even have to be more intentional about this. I may have step out of my comfort zone again (which is always scary, no matter how times I have done it before!) and ask someone outside my peer group, "will you be my friend?"
Hmmm. Thoughts to ponder.
Have a lovely weekend friends! Thanks for walking this journey with me and for showing up here time and time again!