My sweet friend from Australia recently came for a visit.
She looked over at me that slow Sunday morning and wide eyed with wisdom she said to me,
It is time to share your story.
Inspired by that comment, and finally responding to month old emails from people who’ve asked, I would like to share a slice of my ever evolving, spiraling, circling, moon phasing life journey we are all apart of.
And if you know me at all, I rarely answer any question point blank. There’s always a back story.
This is my back story.
I like to get words for each year. Not “New Years Resolutions” or anything like that.
But a word.
From my heart.
Something to hang on to and watch unfold as the year does.
In 2016 my word was Gold.
And in 2016 my life caught on fire.
I forgot about that part that goes along with gold.
The fiery refinement part.
You know, the part that has to happen before the pure gold can happen?
Amidst the heat I needed my tribe. My lady friends. The gal pals.
A sacred space to honor one another with our presence.
Which is by far the best gift I have ever received.
The gracious act of simply being with.
In the messy arena of life.
Wrestling. Waning. Working. Wondering. Worshipping.
My wedding day was set.
In the Sequoias, September, 2016.
That season ended. That day came and went.
Standing before me, a fire. My own life spark and burn before my eyes.
It is now a ring in my trunk.
A darker, thicker, fire ring amongst the thin rings of time and other areas of growth.
Remembering that the only way for Sequoias to grow are through wildfires.
I set the table. Invited my friends.
Instead of putting on a white dress I put on a floral fairy dress, took off my shoes, raised a glass… and cried. I was grateful yet grieved.
At the exact same time. I didn’t even know that was possible to feel both.
Because of that back story…
I decided to host a dinner party the last Sunday of every month in 2017.
Now it’s a thing! Wildfire Dinners.
I wanted to create space for other women to share their fires. Their fears. Failures. Fights. I also wanted to create space for other women to share their season in a different kind of fire. The kind that’s inspiring, life giving, fires that ought to be celebrated.
Rejoice with those who rejoice.
Mourn with those who mourn.
And let’s do it together. Around the table.
No judgement or jealousy.
Comparing or contrasting.
As we are.
Where we are.
I like to thrift.
So most, if not all, of my tablescaping comes from Salvation Army, Grandma or the neighbor’s garage. I tend to cap my dinners after 12 guests. It worked for Jesus. So I figured that would work for me, too. Keeping it intimate.
I ask one question at each dinner.
It’s always around the theme of fire.
I’ve asked questions like,
What is something in your life that is burning in a positive way? A negative way?
What is something you’ve planted and would like to see grow?
What is something you are grateful for and something you are grieving?
We all burn and bloom. We will continually go back and forth between the two.
Fires create fertile soil for seeds to bloom. Each season is different. Each season changes. Trees have multiple fire rings. So will we.
For 12 months, I wanted to bring it all to the table.
Giving my guests the privilege of going second, by me sharing my story first.
And letting the fire spark as it may. One by one around the table.
If this is something that you’re drawn to,
I would encourage you to do the same. In your hometown. In your tribe.
Sharing your story. Your heart. Giving your gift of presence to others.
Not to fix them or even share advice. But to listen. To validate.
To be with.
I usually get food catered.
Healthy, locally sourced, supporting small businesses.
I charge a relatively small amount per person. Not to make money. I just literally cannot afford to feed 12-14 mouths once a month. I can barely afford to feed my own.
First hour is cocktail hour and appetizers. Sometimes I have live music or will have some kind of entertainment one way or another. Making flower crowns, wrapping your own sage bundles, craft cocktails, photo booth, writing your answer down to a question, whatever!
And then the dinner itself takes about two hours. With dessert to finish, of course.
IT IS THE BEST!
My Wildfire Dinners are for women only at this point! Sorry fellas.
I have women come that I know and women come that I don’t know! Some share their deepest darkest and some just say their name. But the response seems to be the same.
Some that attend choose to never enter a church building, but have shared with me that gathering around the table seems to be one of the most sacred experiences, their own church.
Evenings like this are beautiful because of the women who show up. Not because of the flowers on the table or the killer Spotify playlist. But because of the value in vulnerability. Because that’s what we’re meant to do in life.
If you’re a woman reading this, I would love for you to attend!
Come have a seat at the table.
Let’s raise a glass, and spark a flame.
A wildfire that burns and then blooms.