For the past 8 years my church has put on an event called A Christmas Gathering. It is hard to describe…there is a bit of food, some idea seminars, giveaways for everyone, LOTs of women, music and despite our best efforts it is always a late night 🙂 The first one we did there were about 65 women in attendance…now it is about 2500 (two nights of about 1250 each night). Women are crazy!
Lori made these cute roses, I can’t wait for a few moments to sit down and make some. You can find the directions here. After every seminar everyone in the crowd received a giveaway. See the glass hurricane on Lori’s table…everyone went home with one of those!
I help in random ways every year. A couple of years I have done a seminar on photo tips or diy gift ideas. This year I was asked to host a little diy contest. Entries were submitted online, narrowed down to three finalists and the finalists presented their ideas on both nights. A winner was chosen by the audience each night.
Here are the ladies, with myself and the wonderful Denise Lopez, presenting their ideas:
I thought I’d share a few more pictures of their ideas. I am so thankful I didn’t have to choose the winner…they were all super fabulous!
First was Kara Paslay and her “Book Sculptures”. Kara created all kinds of fun items using discarded books.
The second finalist was Ashlee Baker (Tweet Baby Designs). Ashlee submitted an adorable sewing kit in a canning jar. I loved this idea for a gift. I think it would be great for just about any generation of girls.
And the third finalist was Marie Darby. Marie submitted customized lampshades using 8×10 sheets of vellum.
You can visit the girl’s blogs/websites if you have questions about what they created. If you’d like to reach Marie, you can email me and I’ll get you her email address. For those curious, Marie won both nights. Congratulations Marie!
I also got to meet a few blog readers. AND I finally got to meet Lacey McKay of A Cherry on Top Photography. We have emailed a lot and know several of the same people, but had never met in person. It was so great to finally meet her! I think I rambled a lot, but I was going on no sleep and more coffee than usual. Sorry Lacey if I scared you. I am working on convincing her to do more advanced level photography workshops so all of you that keep asking me to do a SnapShops Level 2…start emailing Lacey. (Do you think she’ll stop being my friend after posting that?!)
In the past 8 years I’ve changed in regards to how I feel about the Christmas Gathering. For the first few years I looked forward to the actual event and all that would take place in the company of all those ladies. Though I still enjoy the event, it is the process of preparing I have grown to love. An event like this takes thousands of hours of work in planning…mostly done by volunteers. Those volunteers working tirelessly to pull off an event this size are some of my dearest friends.
When you get 2500 women attending something there will always be lots of laughing, fun and typically some grumbling and complaining. It used to really bother me to hear women complain when I knew all the hard work my friends put in to make it a great night. I try to ignore all that these days and celebrate how incredible the women in my life are. Every time I went up to the church this week I saw my friends, the women that know me the best, doing jobs that they will not be thanked for. They were baking, decorating, organizing, cleaning, folding, setting up, pricing store items, and the list goes on and on. They stayed up all hours of the night, pushed babies in strollers while setting up food tables, and gave their best at jobs that are only noticed when they aren’t done.
As I watched my friends over the past few weeks I realized how grateful I am for their influence in my life. I could have friends that are self absorbed and more concerned about what they are wearing than on how they can help others, but I don’t. I have amazing women in my life. Those amazing women are the moms to my children’s friends. My kids are going to be influenced by friends who are raised by incredible mothers.
I live a very rich life.
This is my favorite picture from this year’s Gathering. My friends and I had a girls night and made 2500 mini cupcakes….so much fun.
I live a very sweet life.
Happy Monday….I hope it is sweet.