Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Internet Wins - The FPFG Sleep-Over

I used to be a lonely girl.

Most people wouldn't have guessed this. I moved easily in groups. I wasn't overly shy. I didn't have problems getting along with people or even making friends.
But at the heart of me was this instinct to keep my walls at half mast.
And I suffered for it, a quiet suffering. A lonely one.

I've been hurt by people. I'm sure you have, too.
And I know I've done my share of hurting.

I've believed I wasn't enough, or maybe that I was too much.
I was impossible to understand because I didn't even understand myself.

But along the way, I began to believe the unmistakable value in extending the benefit of the doubt. I started to notice the things that shored us up together and cast our differences into the background. I grew in love and I have miles to go, but I finally knew for sure that life was too short to spend inside myself, or at arm's length.

Along with the graciousness of God and people in my everyday life who love me just the quirky way I am, I also have you to thank.

Now, we're this little family of sorts.

A month or so back, I decided to throw another Noonday trunk show. The most logical conclusion I could find was to invite some of you, so I extended the invitation, and to my shock and awe, the party filled right up.

Thrilling me to the ends, several of my townies also emailed asking if they could come. I have never felt so loved.

So, the worlds were about to collide and some folks thought I was nuts for inviting a bunch of "strangers" into my home, but I knew there'd be no stranger among us and I didn't for one second worry.

If you've ever wondered how small my house really is, this is what it looks like when almost 30 people squeeze in. I'm pretty sure we created a legit fire hazard, but hey, live a little!

I welcomed my guests with hugs all around, tapping into the underused recesses of my brain to try to permanently etch faces with names, and we were on our way.

I apologized just a little that I only had seating for roughly one-third of them. Also, I didn't have the food ready, even though several of my locals pitched it to save me from the depths of my poor time management.

So it's official, I've lost the will to put on airs.

(And when I took this picture and that squirt in the front row started acting a fool, I knew, once again, I'd found my people.)

Packed like sardines and listening to the Gospel heart of Jolene, my Noonday ambassador.

Voting for our favorite item created during the Rwanda #styleforjustice trip!

Have mercy, the food.
Avocado bacon crostini, corn and tomato bruschetta with goat cheese and basil vinaigrette, 10-minute refrigerator pickles, summer sausage and cheese, peach and raspberry pie, sangria, fancy water.

To the surprise of no one, FPFG readers are FPFG eaters!
Every crumb was gone by night's end.

(Related: I didn't have enough plates. Or napkins. Or glasses. I had to keep reaching into the archives and pulling out randos. DETAILS! Argh.)

This was my effort to "style" the buffet table: Throw a sheet on the island, then scatter other miscellaneous pieces of fabric on top. Voila. I'm so fancy and intimidating and high-brow.

{Name-tags, in process.}

After we were all Noondayed-out and everyone had met my kiddos, we headed to the Holiday Inn Express just a few miles away to commence the slumber party portion of the evening.

There were more snacks (my salsa, San Marcos' avocado salsa, Santitas, Katie's fruit salsa, Cinnamon pita chips, Tia's zuchhini bread, Butter Kek) and lots of elastic-waistband action.

It was time for HGTV's My Big Family Renovation, starring Remy Hatmaker!

The kind front-desk lady took exactly one group shot of all of us.
As Jen would say, Bless it.

Here's where it gets weird. (But hey, we made it this far!)
During commercial breaks, I would run over to my aging Vera Bradley duffel bag and pull out random items which were either 1) previously owned by me or 2) regifted new items and let each person pick a thing.

Does this make you uncomfortable? Am I a tacky person?

Don't answer that.

It's just that I'm often blessed by fun little trinkets and finds, and I wanted to share the love. Sharing and re-purposing are two of my spiritual gifts.

I also gave a thrifted mug stuffed with candy and Earl Grey and a vintage linen to each lady pal.

Announcement: I'm thrifty.

By 3 a.m., we were all fast asleep.

Until at least 6 am, when I stood upright and drove home to wake Cory and my babies and get everyone off to their second day of school.

At 9:00 we converged upon Rachel's Bread, Goshen's own little French bakery, and turned this into...


Since we'd be eating lunch less than three hours later, we settled on a light, reasonable breakfast of chocolate croissants and butter-drenched pastries the size of my man-hands.

Then, we set out to get our thrift on.

We found such good scores. Such! Good! Scores.

All glasswear was 50% off at this stop (my favorite!). It was exciting enough, but then the lady said, "Glasswear means anything that breaks," and sure enough, I got a giant embroidered picture for half off "Because the glass is breakable." BOOYAH.

I kept meaning to get a pic of everyone with our goodies, but I'll be honest, pictures just weren't the top of my priority list. Also, my hands were really full.

 Neopolitan-style pizza for lunch at Venturi.

After lunch, our numbers dwindled, but all remaining friends walked over to my favorite consignment store, Twice As Nice. Everything was half-off except blue and green tags...

I personally came home with a gray/white Banana Republic sweater in a damask pattern with a peplum. Nevermind. You have to actually see it for it to make sense.

I loved everyone so much. I knew I would. But still, it was nice to have that confirmed.
I keep on missing them.

So that's our story.
I'm sticking to it.

There is so much goodness and light and life to be found in this world.

I'm more and more convinced that I could spend an entire happy day with almost anyone you plunked down beside me. People are good. The internet doesn't rob us if we don't let us. It gifts us with new perspectives and opportunities for joy and grace.

I'm begging you, find someone near you and grab her by the shoulders. Pull her in. Notice her eye color and listen to her heart. Give her the benefit of the doubt, and especially give it to yourself.

We are better together,