Read about our first gathering below!!
It has been a while since I have blogged and I am excited about this one, because I get to share something dear to my heart and you also get to see pictures! I launched Open Seat on 1/16/2016 and I have to say, I was blown away by our first community gathering.
The goal is to foster a sense of belonging and create a safe place for authentic sisterhood to be formed. Our goal is to recreate the way we are supposed to live, communities that are built on sharing and doing away with loneliness, competition, and surface relationships. We believe that God writes the best stories and we want to be an echo of his voice through your journey. Every woman needs to be able to celebrate and be uplifted as she journeys through life. This is a place to listen, to be known, to be heard and most importantly to be honored.
I have carried this dream for years and I am proud of myself for seeing it through. I struggled launching this community gathering, because to be honest, I was waiting for someone else to and then I would tag along and help them. Last year this dream consumed me, the dream clung to me like my 18 month old daughter clings to me when she does not want me to leave. The name Open Seat was birthed from a simple idea to invite other women to a table to sit and eat with us. No matter what your story is, you belong!!
Women from all walks of life registered to attend the first Open Seat: Stories and Community. It sold out in a couple of days after posting. I am honored to be a part of this and also privileged that I get to journey with these incredible women. The women started arriving at 12:30 pm. They were greeted with hugs and laughter filled the air as they introduced themselves and started sharing their stories. I immediately realized that the things I stayed up worried about, how to get a group strangers meeting each other for the first time to open up, was quickly erased. They were truly not strangers, just friends and sisters that had not met yet and happy to finally be united. We made personalized name tags which we place by each plate. This helped to randomly assign seats which worked out perfectly.
On the menu was balsamic glazed chicken with baby greens and garlic mashed potatoes. 4 of the women quickly volunteered to serve the other women when it was time to eat, they did not want them to have to get their own food. While they were serving another one of the women walked back to the kitchen and asked if she could help. She was actually in town from Portland. She had flown into town to visit her friend, and even though she had to fly back that night, she decided to share her day with us before she left. We politely explained to her that we wanted to serve her instead of her serving. She explained that she loves to serve others and she would like to at least make the plate of the woman next to her. We could tell she wasn’t going to back down, so we handed her a plate and her face lite up. I am glad we allowed her to do what she loves even when we wanted her to sit back and relax. Serving was what she wanted to do and she got to do just that.
We played an ice breaker that has pennies involved. We passed a jar filled with pennies and each woman picked a penny from the jar and had to share a memory from that year. Some of the memories or stories from that specific year where happy stories some were sad. There seemed to be an agreement about 2015 being a crazy year! Lol! We listened to each story with ears to understand, acknowledge feelings, and encouraged. We laughed hard at funny stories. No one stayed on the fence and we were all in. We had made time to meet and we were going to be present. Our second activity was Two Truths and a Lie. Each sister had to share two truths and one lie and the group had to decide which statement was a lie. I can write a separate blog about this activity, because it was a lot of fun. I am beyond grateful that everyone decided to not only share their time but their story, their lives, and more.
Everyone mingled after the event, talking to each other and exchanging numbers. I am grateful for this community of women and I could not have dreamt of a more perfect gathering. Now I can hardly wait to gather with my sisters next month. I am a firm believer that you create what you want to see and be a part of. I love community, stories, and food and I sat in my chair watching the women interact and I said to myself: "This is what you love, what took you so long?" Today I want to ask you: What is the dream in your heart? What is taking you so long? Insecurity, fear, perfect timing are the 3 things that kept me paralyzed for years. What are yours? I promise whatever it is it will not measure up to the day you see that dream come to past. Peel away the fear and do it anyways.
Open Seat will be held monthly in Dallas, TX if you are in the area we would love to have you!!
Our next gathering
Saturday, February 13 @ 12:30 pm
Click here to get your ticket
Here are pictures and a 1 minutes from the gathering.
Picture Credit: Isha Gaines >IG @ishagainesphoto >FB: I'sha Gaines
Video Credit: @ MozDeb