Friends! I pray today finds you well…I’m livin’ in the Land of Denial re: “Summer’s Half Over”…Somehow the 4th of July left us rather rudely in the dust…
Here’s a book for your summer reading whether this finds you poolside, or perched by a picture window…
A recent discovery of this book has snowballed to near avalanche proportions. Thanks to a favorite, informative resource, www.styleblueprint.com , the gals offered a fascinating interview with author Kristin Schell as a “Face of the South”.
I was so mesmerized by the article, I promptly forwarded it to my friend, Judy, who’s creating her own book with similar offerings. Judy up and ordered two copies, one for her and one for me. We’ve simultaneously become enraptured by the book.
The book? The Turquoise Table—Finding Community and Connection in Your Own Front Yard by Kristen Schell.
Note the beauty of the cover. I’d have bought it solely from the cover. Its’ spine is a lovely, sheeny gold and it includes a rich, brown, satin book marker. Such things tickle me. (You go, Thomas Nelson.)
Each page is thick, easy to turn. Each chapter has beautiful photographs, ideas, recipes (all of which look easy and delicious), and testimonies of others acquiring a turquoise table. Why the turquoise table you ask?
One weekend, Kristin and her family were going to be entertaining in their back yard and she realized they needed furniture. A picnic table fit their budget.
Delivery guys plunked the table in her front yard. This gave Kristin an idea: What if she left it there, inviting friends and neighbors to visit on a whim?
Oh, but it couldn’t stay in its’ plain ole’ natural wood color. Flipping thru’ many paint samples, with the help of Kristin’s Mom, Mia, they landed on “Nifty Turquoise”.
Check this out from Bourn Creative: “The color turquoise is associated with meanings of refreshing, calming, sophisticated, energy, wisdom, serenity, wholeness, creativity, emotional balance, spiritual grounding, friendship, love, joy, tranquility, patience, etc.”
Kristin’s writing style is expressive, funny, and honest. You’ll relate with her from the first page. This comes as great relief to the reader as we learn the simplicity of offering hospitality to others.
One of many appealing aspects of the turquoise table is its’ location: it’s outside. Thus, no one knows if the inside of your house is a wreck or not. (Just pray they don’t have to use the bathroom, right?)
Kristen says, “If you’re busy and overwhelmed, the last thing you need is one more project, one more thing to do. Well, you’ll see the Turquoise Table offers simplicity. It’s more than a table; it’s a symbol of reaching out and making room without all the fuss and frenzy.”
In my last post, we talked about our mission fields being in our own back yards. Here we see Kristen showing us: “We are called to love others in our everyday, ordinary lives…right where we live: in our own front yards.”
Kristen shares how this whole idea of the table evolved. Many days she begins by sitting at the table alone and soon, others show up. Sometimes she plans get-togethers. Sometimes she’s there with her children. She adds, “If people come, great, but if not, then you have time to stay unconnected and have room to breathe.”
One on-purpose gathering simply came from a text she sent out saying, “9:00 tomorrow. Yoga pants.” Love that! (You can hear more from Kristen in a fun interview she did with Eric Metaxas on his radio show. It aired 6/13/17. Visit www.metaxastalk.com)
Kristen’s kids began setting out a bowl of water for dogs who walk by, and a bowl of candy to treat their neighbors, just for starters. She includes other numerous ideas. To see how this whole idea has evolved and literally spread across the country is astonishing.
After having her fourth child, Kristen began dubbing herself the “Queen of Crazy”. She prayed a fabulous prayer: “Lord, edit my life!” (Note to self…)
Romans 12:13 became her mantra:
You’ll love what you’ll learn about hospitality. It has many different faces according to Kristen. If she can do this with four young children, surely we can too…
Equally fascinating is a pattern she discovers. Don’t miss this! (I’m not about to spoil the discovery for you, you must read the book!)
Countless people have written to Kristen sharing their stories, including some challenges their HOA has presented and their very clever solutions. One of many favorite ideas from Kristen’s time at the table is she’s begun setting out an “iBasket”…which you can guess collects cell phones. Kristen said in the Style Blueprint interview, “There’s no ‘i’ device that will ever replace ‘eye’ contact.” Whoa.
Combine quiet, unplugged time with the “Ministry of Presence”, thanks to inspiration from an eighty-four-year-old widow in Prague…
Her name is Ludmilla. She has a plaque on the outside of her apartment that says, “Embassy of the Kingdom of Heaven.” She opens her door and her heart to friends and strangers. Kristen said Ludmilla encouraged her to “want to have a simple table spread with abundant love. To offer an atmosphere of joy and peace.”
Any argument you could have about beginning this endeavor, Kristen answers. It almost becomes comical because you feel as if she’s reading your mind.
One of many favorite activities in the book is to “Start a Front Yard People Journal.” This helps you remember neighbors’ names, their family, prayer requests, etc.—Almost a guest book of sorts.
I’ll go so far as to recommend you start your own version of a guest book whether you’re considering a turquoise table or not. My same friend Judy who gave me Kristen’s book says her one major regret over the years from having hosted countless missionaries, pastors, authors, friends, and family is not recording who all has gathered and placed their feet under her table. That would make for a fascinating book! (We’re anxiously awaiting yours, Judy!!! You can do it!)
Friend, run don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab The Turquoise Table. You’ll love it. It’s also an excellent gift idea. My daughters-in-love are getting a copy ASAP. It would also be a beautiful coffee table book, guaranteeing lively conversation.
‘Til next time!