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Open Seat: Community & Stories

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR TICKET

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.

Menu

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.

Activities

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

 

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Who has your ear?

How do you know if you are taking counsel from the wrong source? Here are 3 ways you can recognize that:

1)      You are not comfortable in your own skin.

 Adam and Eve did not find out that they were naked after eating the fruit. They knew they were naked before that according to Genesis 2:25. After they ate the fruit they did what some of us women do, they played dress up, trying to cover their guilt and be anybody else but themselves in that moment.  We add in order to enhance or fix what we think are our problem areas. What used to be perfectly fine before is no longer ok. The size of your nose, shape of your eyes, ear, hair texture, and the list goes on, is a problem. If you could just fix that…you would be happy.

2)      You protect or guard.

Boy, I did I do this well. I was so skillful at this no one could penetrate my walls. We are even on guard with the people who love us and the One who created us. The One who can make every wrong right in an instant. Adam and Eve hid themselves from the One who formed and shaped them.

3)      You live with shame.

Shame blinds us from our value and keeps us from believing that we deserve love and forgiveness. We feel like we are no longer worthy to be in His presence or in communication with Him. We feel we are better off hiding behind a tree than be in His presence.

Some of my trials in life have been self-inflicted and some haven’t, but God’s faithfulness never ceases to amaze me. Romans 8:38 states, “…nothing can separate us from the love of God.” His love was there before, his love is here now, and searching for you after every mess up.

God did 2 things after addressing their sin.

1)      He covered them- He made covering for them. Let him provide covering today.

2)      He protected them- Genesis 3:22-And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” God did not want them to live in that condition, if they ate from the tree of life that would have remained in that state. He does not desire for you to live with shame and guilt forever.

God had a plan to reconcile the world through Jesus, and it is reenacted in our lives still to this today. 

 


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First things First: You are Enough

 

We all experience high and low days, but it is important not to build a house on the low days and prepare to take up residence there. Things happen that can send us into a down ward spiral; before we know it, we have built a house, are in the wrong neighborhood, and having a block party with uninvited guests like shame and fear. 

There are various life issues that have happened to both me and you that have caused us, as women, to doubt our very core. We all have read the story of Adam and Eve and say things like, “I would have NEVER messed up the opportunity to chill with God on that level… the nerve of them!” The reality is that you and I have a garden experience in our daily lives, but don’t recognize its beauty because we are chasing what we already have. If you are struggling with the opinions of people, this should put your mind at ease: God did not consult anyone but Himself when He decided to create you and I. Genesis 2:18 says, “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (KJV).

 Although the verse references it, Adam was not actually alone. He had God and all the animals in the garden, so how was he alone? With everything God had created, Adam could have easily preoccupied himself and never even noticed that something was missing, but God knew. God is omniscient, meaning He knows everything and has unlimited understanding. He is also not limited by time or space. He has seen every high and every low situation before it knocks at your door. One thing that I struggled with for years was wondering if anyone saw the let downs in life that broke my spirit. You yourself might currently have those struggles that are weighing you down. Let me encourage you by saying this; He sees and He knows. I know it does not seem that way at times. He was able to foresee that Adam would need a companion without Adam even being able to articulate the words for a need he wasn't even aware he had. For every woman reading this, know that you were a dream in God’s heart. When He looked at what He had created, He decided that the finishing touch would be YOU. Our nature to compete with each other and men was never in his plan. We can rest assured in the fact that the first time God uttered the words “It is not good…” that we were birthed in His heart to be the solution, to be the good. You are NOT a mistake. You were put on this earth for a purpose. God knew the world would need you even if THEY (whoever your “they” is comprised of) doesn't know it yet. You have a place in God’s plan. If you have any questions about His plan for your life or struggle with doubt (like I personally do sometimes) just ask Him.

 At times, I have compromised my garden experience with God by having conversations with things I am supposed to have dominion over. We sometimes find ourselves taking counsel or holding the words of others to a higher regard than God’s word. My advice to you in this season is to guard your heart and your ears from the lies of the enemy. Focus on all the beauty that God has surrounded you with and all the trees you can benefit from rather than focusing on the one you cannot have. I desire to be like God and look just like him, but I would rather rely on him for the knowledge and wisdom to obtain that goal than trying to do it on my own. I would rather seek his definition of beauty, than what I see in magazines. So today, quiet the lies of the enemy, surrender, and let God be the voice of truth.

You are Enough, 

Next Blog "How do you know if you are taking counsel from the wrong source?" coming soon....

 

 

 

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